North Korea scraps all economic cooperation with South Korea

Feb 8, 2024

North Korea'S Supreme People's Assembly have voted to cancel all agreements with South Korea About this economic cooperationAccording to the North's official KCNA News Agency, This decision has come when relations between the two Korean countries are continuously deteriorating. The assembly, which is responsible for adopting policy decisions of the ruling Workers' Party, also voted to eliminate laws governing economic relations with Seoul, including a special law on the operation of the Mount Kumgang tourism project.
The Mount Kumgang Tourism Project, which attracted approximately 2 million South Korean visitors, was a symbol of economic cooperation between the two Koreas. However, it was suspended in 2008 when a South Korean tourist was shot dead by North Korean guards after entering a restricted area. Hyundai Asan, which invested more than 750 billion won ($564 million) in developing the project, declined to comment on the report.
South Korea's Unification Ministry, responsible for handling relations with Pyongyang, said the North's actions were not surprising and would further isolate the country. Seoul does not recognize this unilateral move, an official said. The KCNA report did not mention the North's special law governing another major joint economic project, the Kaesong Industrial Zone, which housed factories of 125 South Korean companies and employed 55,000 North Korean workers at its peak. The project was suspended by Seoul in 2016 following North Korea's nuclear tests and missile launches.
North Korea has previously declared South Korea a war enemy and last year canceled a military agreement aimed at reducing tensions near the border. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called the change in North Korea's inter-Korea policy “an extraordinary shift” in a pre-recorded interview with state TV KBS, but expressed difficulty understanding the reasoning behind it. President Yun said that the North Korean leadership “is not a rational group” and emphasized its long-standing efforts to transform South Korea into a communist state.
Despite this, President Yoon remains ready to engage with North Korea, including holding a summit with Kim and providing aid to help the North Korean economy. However, he acknowledged the challenges of dealing with leadership he views as irrational.
In a separate report, KCNA said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently visited factories producing consumer goods and food. He provided guidance on modernization of facilities as part of implementing the new regional development policy.

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