Skip to main content

South Korea: Joint military drills with U.S. over, but vigilance on North remains

By KJ Kwon, CNN
updated 2:26 PM EDT, Tue April 30, 2013
Emergency service personnel wearing chemical protective clothing participate in an anti-chemical warfare exercise on Tuesday, April 16 in Seoul. Tensions remain high in the Korean Peninsula in the wake of North Korea's recent nuclear threats and provocations. A Pentagon intelligence assessment suggests the North may have the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon with a ballistic missile, though the reliability is believed to be "low." Emergency service personnel wearing chemical protective clothing participate in an anti-chemical warfare exercise on Tuesday, April 16 in Seoul. Tensions remain high in the Korean Peninsula in the wake of North Korea's recent nuclear threats and provocations. A Pentagon intelligence assessment suggests the North may have the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon with a ballistic missile, though the reliability is believed to be "low."
HIDE CAPTION
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
Militaries and Korean tensions
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The military drills end after a rash of fiery rhetoric from North Korea
  • The regional tension prompted the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex
  • The complex is located in the North but houses South Korean companies
  • 7 South Koreans remain at the inter-Korean complex

Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- Joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States officially ended Tuesday, the South Korean Defense Ministry said.

But the ministry noted that South Korea is still closely monitoring for possible provocation and possible missile launches by North Korea.

A torrent of unnerving threats from Pyongyang in recent weeks has strained already fragile relations in the region.

The North's rhetoric intensified when the U.N. Security Council voted last month to slap the tougher sanctions on the regime and amid the U.S.-South Korean military drills.

U.S.-S. Korean war games ripe with risks
Co-piloting South Korea's supersonic jet
American faces death penalty in N. Korea

The tensions prompted the closure of Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea -- one of the few symbols of inter-Korean cooperation.

Key dates in U.S. military moves near North Korea

The complex, which sits just north of the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries, houses the operations of more than 120 South Korean companies.

During a frenzy of rhetoric aimed at South Korea and the United States earlier this month, the North began blocking South Koreans from entering the complex across the heavily fortified border.

It then pulled out the more than 50,000 North Koreans who work in the zone's factories, saying it was temporarily suspending activity there. The move surprised some observers since Kaesong was considered to be a key source of hard currency for the Kim Jong Un regime.

Training to go supersonic with South Korea's Top Guns

Seven remain

On Saturday, South Korea started withdrawing its remaining citizens from the manufacturing zone jointly operated with the North.

On Tuesday, the South's Unification Ministry said seven South Koreans remain at Kaesong to tie up loose ends.

This is not the first time Kaesong has shut down.

In 2009, North Korea temporarily suspended in Kaesong Industrial Complex several times, not permitting South Koreans to enter and exit the zone. The suspension also took place during the annual U.S.-South Korean joint military drill.

Threats of annihilation normal for South Koreans

But if all South Korean workers pull out, it will be the first time the joint economic zone will have no South Korean workers since the business kicked off about a decade ago.

In 2012, the production value of the complex grew to $500 million; just five years earlier, it topped $100 million for the first time.

The average wage for North Korean workers in Kaesong Industrial Complex is $134 per month, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry. North Korean authorities take about 45% of their wages for various tax reasons.

South Korea pulls out citizens from joint industrial zone

CNN's Jethro Mullen contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:51 AM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
North Korea has "the world's most advantageous human rights system," the country declares.
updated 9:35 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions Monday in an exclusive interview with CNN.
updated 4:52 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
The crowd cheers as the stars make their way to the ring for first pro-wrestling bout North Korea has seen in almost 20 years.
updated 9:37 PM EDT, Sat August 30, 2014
CNN's Will Ripley makes a rare live report from reclusive North Korea.
updated 10:45 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
CNN's Will Ripley is given a rare look inside North Korea and tours Kim Jong Un's pet project, a waterpark.
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Mon August 18, 2014
North Korea rejected an invitation to the Pope's Mass in Seoul. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.
updated 6:25 PM EDT, Wed July 2, 2014
As diplomats discuss a string of unsolved kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North Korea, the families of those abducted anxiously wait.
updated 7:57 PM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
updated 11:13 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
North Korea says it plans to prosecute two American tourists that it detained earlier this year, accusing them of "perpetrating hostile acts."
updated 7:38 PM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
North Korea proposed that "all hostile military activities" with South Korea be halted, but it attached conditions that Seoul is likely to reject.
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
North Korean state news is reporting the country test-launched "cutting-edge ultra precision tactical guided missiles."
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed June 25, 2014
James Franco won't be following Dennis Rodman into North Korea anytime soon.
updated 7:04 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
updated 7:44 PM EDT, Thu June 5, 2014
New signs show Russia and North Korea are developing a closer relationship.
updated 8:12 PM EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Many North Koreans listen to illegal broadcasts on homemade radios, some are convinced to defect.
updated 3:26 PM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector and former regime insider, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
ADVERTISEMENT