N. Korea passes buck to S. Korea for Kaesong shutdown

North Korea again blamed South Korea Thursday for the recent shutdown of a joint-venture industrial park in the North's border city of Kaesong, claiming Seoul's "violation of its dignity" lies behind the move.

In a commentary article published at the Web page of Uriminzokkiri, Pyongyang's main Internet-based media and propaganda site, the communist country said the current stalemate in the Kaesong Industrial Complex has been caused by the South, who "insulted our dignity after driving the inter-Korean relations to the verge of war."

No North Korean laborers reported to work at the complex for the third day in a row on Thursday, after the communist country warned on Monday of pulling out all of its people in protest against what it calls Seoul's "unacceptable provocations against its national dignity."

Lambasting the South Korean government for "letting out a stream of intolerable curse that violates the dignity," the North warned that Seoul "cannot get away with the responsibilities," and the future of the joint complex depends on "what position South Korea will take."

The latest buck-passing is in line with the North's earlier arguments.

Pyongyang officials in charge of managing the complex reportedly claimed that Seoul should "apologize for its deeds that hurt the North's dignity," and the North's Council for National Reconciliation, a North Korean propaganda organization, said in fax messages sent to South Korean liberal civic and religious groups that "the U.S. and South Korean warmongers triggered the current standoff."

As of Wednesday, 296 South Korean nationals and one Chinese national stayed in Kaesong, with 35 of them set to return home on Thursday. The daily steady outflow comes as no replacement workers, food and manufacturing parts have reached the complex since last Wednesday when Pyongyang banned all traffic from the South, although it did not stop people from leaving.