South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who has sought to re-engage North Korea with dialogue and aid since taking office in February, expressed exasperation Tuesday with what she called the “endless vicious cycle” of Seoul answering Pyongyang’s hostile behavior with compromise, only to get more hostility.
U.S. and South Korean defense officials have said they’ve seen nothing to indicate that Pyongyang is preparing for a major military action.
Despite the lack of evidence that the North is actually preparing for a war, the United States and South Korea have raised their defense postures, and so has Japan, which deployed PAC-3 missile interceptors in key locations around Tokyo on Tuesday as a precaution against possible North Korean ballistic missile tests.
Also Tuesday, North Korea said it was suspending work at the Kaesong industrial park near its border, which is combines South Korean technology and know-how with North Korea’s cheap labor. North Korea pulled out more than 50,000 workers from the complex, the only remaining product of economic cooperation between the two countries that started about a decade ago when relations were much warmer.
Other projects from previous eras of cooperation such as reunions of families separated by war and tours to a scenic North Korean mountain stopped in recent years.