Alexa

NKorea reopens border to stranded SKorean workers

 South Korean vehicles come back to South Korea from North Korea's city Kaesong are pictured from Dora Observation Post in Paju near the border villag...
 A troop of U.S. Marine soldiers participates in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Foal Eagle (...
 U.S. and South Korean Marine soldiers aim their weapons in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/F...
 U.S. and South Korean Marine soldiers aim weapons in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Foal Ea...
 U.S. and South Korean Marine soldiers fire blank shots in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Fo...
 A U.S. Marine runs in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Foal Eagle (KR/FE) 2009 at Rodriguez R...
 A U.S. Marine soldier yells as another aims his weapon in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Fo...

South Korea Koreas Tension

South Korean vehicles come back to South Korea from North Korea's city Kaesong are pictured from Dora Observation Post in Paju near the border villag...

South Korea Koreas Tension

A troop of U.S. Marine soldiers participates in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Foal Eagle (...

South Korea Koreas Tension

U.S. and South Korean Marine soldiers aim their weapons in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/F...

South Korea Koreas Tension

U.S. and South Korean Marine soldiers aim weapons in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Foal Ea...

South Korea Koreas Tension

U.S. and South Korean Marine soldiers fire blank shots in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Fo...

South Korea Koreas Tension

A U.S. Marine runs in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Foal Eagle (KR/FE) 2009 at Rodriguez R...

South Korea Koreas Tension

A U.S. Marine soldier yells as another aims his weapon in a Force-on-Force drill during the joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises Key Resolve/Fo...

North Korea allowed South Koreans across the border Tuesday to manage factories that are a key source of currency for the isolated nation, a day after severing all communication with its rival and barring all traffic through the heavily fortified zone.
Pyongyang on Monday cut off the only remaining military hot line between the two Koreas to protest joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises being held in the South at a time of heightened tensions on the peninsula.
The two Koreas are divided by the Demilitarized Zone, and the North banned most cross-border traffic in December amid deteriorating ties with Seoul's conservative government.
However, the regime had been allowing a skeleton staff of South Koreans into the northern city of Kaesong to run factories that produce everything from shoes to clocks using North Korean labor and are a lucrative source of cash for the impoverished country.
But with the hot line cut, border officials _ who rely on it to exchange details about goods and workers bound for the industrial park _ were forced to shut the frontier down completely on Monday.
That left hundreds of South Koreans stranded on both sides of the DMZ, including those who had planned to head back to the South after work and others seeking to get into the North, South Korean officials said.
North Korean officials agreed Tuesday to let them through, Unification Ministry officials said in Seoul. But with the hot line still severed, officials were forced to walk over to North Korea's border office next door with written requests for passage, the ministry said. More than 220 South Koreans crossed the border Tuesday, it said.
One South Korean said he wasn't too concerned about being able to return to the South _ but was worried he wouldn't have anything to eat.
"I had concerns whether I could have a meal because there's no gas in restaurants" in Kaesong, Kim Moo-ju told South Korean reporters after crossing the border Tuesday. "I bought instant noodles and drinks and brought them back to my dormitory."
Pyongyang said the hot line would remain suspended throughout the duration of the joint U.S.-South Korean military drills, set to last through March 20.
North Korea also put its 1.2 million troops on alert, state-run media said, warning that even the slightest provocation _ by land, air or sea _ could trigger war, and threatened South Korean passenger planes flying near its airspace during the military drills.
Washington, which has 28,500 military personnel in South Korea, says the drills are routine defense exercises.
The North also warned against attempts to interfere with its plan to send a satellite into space _ a launch that regional powers fear may be a cover for the test-fire of a long-range missile.
"Shooting our satellite for peaceful purposes will precisely mean a war," North Korea's military said in a statement carried Monday by the official Korean Central News Agency.
South Korea's defense minister said the North has nothing to gain by raising the war rhetoric.
"The recent series of provocative and tension-raising rhetoric and acts are not only straining inter-Korean relations but also making it impossible to rule out the possibility of clashes in land, sea and air," Lee Sang-hee told graduates at a military academy in Seoul.
In Montreal, the U.N. aviation safety agency called on North Korea to retract the warning against South Korean passenger planes, calling it a "grave threat," South Korean officials said.
The International Civil Aviation Organization was expected to send a letter expressing its concerns to North Korea, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
On Yeonpyeong, an island off the west coast just 7 miles (12 kilometers) from North Korean shores, residents tried not to think about the possibility of a naval skirmish in the surrounding waters.
"It does make me a bit nervous now that the tension with North Korea is rising," said Choi Ok-sun, 53, who has lived on the island for 26 years. "But we will continue our fishing and the rest as normal."
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Associated Press writers Kwang-tae Kim in Seoul and Siyoung Lee on Yeonpyeong contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-03-01 16:03 GMT+08:00