U.S. Markets closed

Now it gets scary: North Korea halts South Korean access to crucial factory near DMZ

Adam Pasick

Throughout the rise in tensions on the Korean peninsula, observers have been heartened by the fact that North Korea’s Kaesong factory complex, staffed by South Korean managers and the source of $2 billion a year in annual trade, has remained open.

Until perhaps today.

Reuters reported that North Korea on Wednesday delayed access to Kaesong, potentially stranding hundreds of South Korean workers north of the border. South Korea’s Unification Ministry said that additional workers were awaiting entry to Kaesong. “It was not immediately clear if the move was aimed at closing Kaesong,” Reuters reported. AFP noted that closing the factory “would mark a clear escalation of tensions beyond all the military rhetoric.”

North Korea’s latest escalation was its announcement on Tuesday that it plans to restart a nuclear reactor it uses to generate plutonium for its weapons program.

Stay tuned for further updates.

More from Quartz