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North Korea suspends last major project with South Korea

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Reuters notes that the suspension follows North Korea's move last week to bar new arrivals from South Korea from entering Kaesong, although it did not expel Southerners already there. However, many South Koreans left the site and returned home as food and supplies there ran out.

The Kaesong complex is seen as a critical lifeline for the North. Amid the waxing Kaesong shutdown last week, The Christian Science Monitor reported that the site employs some 53,000 North Koreans in factories manufacturing goods for South Korean companies, whose managers are allowed into the site. The complex produced $470 million in good last year and drew an estimates $80 million for North Korea – a significant influx of money for a regime beset by UN-backed sanctions and with almost no legitimate sources of income other than its limited trade with China.

The Associated Press notes that even with Pyongyang's statement, the status of Kaesong's South Korean managers remains uncertain. One South Korean manager told AP that he had heard nothing about the suspension, and although the North had asked South Koreans to report by Wednesday when they plan to leave the site, no orders to leave had been issued.

"North Korean workers left work at 6 o'clock today as they usually do. We'll know tomorrow whether they will come to work," said the manager, who declined to be identified because he was not allowed to speak to media.

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