South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that North Korea's decision to suspend the operation of a jointly run factory complex in its border city of Kaesong is "very disappointing."
Park made the remark during a Cabinet meeting, saying that no country in the world would be willing to invest in North Korea if the communist nation flouts international regulations and promises.
"It is very disappointing that North Korea abruptly said yesterday that it will temporarily suspend the operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex that has been operating without any problems," Park said.
"How long should we see this endless vicious cycle of (North Korea) creating crises before reaching compromise in exchange for aid and again creating crises before compromise and aid?" she said of Pyongyang's pattern of behavior.
On Tuesday, operations of the complex grounded to a halt as North Korean workers failed to showed up for work, a day after the regime said it would withdraw all of its workers from the complex and temporarily suspend operations.
"If North Korea breaches international regulations and promises like this, there will be no countries or companies that would make investments in North Korea," Park said. "North Korea should halt wrong behavior and make the right choice for the sake of the entire future of the Korean People."
The complex has long been plagued by political and nuclear disputes. A new wave of tensions has hit the zone after North Korea churned out near-daily threats of war and harsh rhetoric in anger over joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States and new U.N. sanctions adopted for its third nuclear test in February.
The project combines cheap North Korean labor with South Korean capital and technology. A total of 123 South Korean factories employ some 53,000 North Korean workers at the complex. Revenues from the zone were considered a key source of hard currency for the impoverished North.