05:38 GMT +316 July 2019
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    The industrial complex in Kaesong is seen from the Dora Observation Post in Paju near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea

    N.Korean Govt Confiscated Up to 70% Joint Industrial Zone Workers’ Wages

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    The North Korean government has confiscated up to 70 percent of the Kaesong industrial zone jointly run with South Korea to allegedly spend on its nuclear program, South Korean Unification Ministry said Sunday.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – Pyongyang suspended all emergency contact lines with Seoul after South Korean staff walked out of Kaesong last Wednesday in protest of North Korea’s long-range rocket launch on Sunday.

    "The workers in Kaesong were paid in cash in US dollars, but the money did not go directly to these workers. Instead, they went to the government of North Korea. It has been confirmed from various sources that kickbacks to the ruling party accounted for about 70 percent," the ministry said.

    Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said on South Korean television that "any monthly foreign currency earned in Noth Korea goes to the Workers’ Party, where this money is being used to develop nuclear weapons and missiles, or to buy luxury goods."

    On Thursday, South Korean companies were ordered to pull out of the Kaesong industrial park on the border between two Koreas. The move reportedly aims to sever financial flows to the North, which it allegedly uses to develop nuclear and missile technologies.

    There were 124 South Korean companies operating at Kaesong, producing clothes, footwear, watches and other goods, with over 54,000 North Korean employees earning a minimum of $70.35 a month.

    Despite limited industrial cooperation, South and North Korea are still legally at war as no peace treaty between them was signed after the Korean War of 1950-1953.

    Related:

    Kaesong Industrial Park Closure Depends on Pyongyang – South Korea Leader
    Seoul to Continue Work at Kaesong Park After N Korea Nuclear Test
    Seoul, Pyongyang Holding First Talks on Kaesong Joint Complex Since 2014
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    South Korea, Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), wages, Kaesong
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