South Korea canceled plans for a business event with North Korea aimed at drawing foreign investment into their jointly run industrial park because there wasn’t enough interest.
The North and South also haven’t made enough progress in talks on other issues related to the Gaeseong park to go ahead with the Oct. 31 event at the facility, the Unification Ministry said today in a text message. North Korea has so far rejected South Korean demands to allow Internet access and mobile-phone use at the park.
The Koreas reopened the park north of their heavily armed border last month. The North pulled its 53,000 workers out in April after conducting a third nuclear test in February and threatening attacks against South Korea and the U.S.
“The relations between South and North are stuck in a stalemate now,” Koh Yu Hwan, a professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said by phone. “Without progress in the North Korean nuclear issue, progress in the relations will also be difficult to achieve.”
Earlier in the day, North Korea released a statement calling South Korean President Park Geun Hye “delusional” for her recent comments that the North should give up its nuclear ambitions to improve its economy.
The National Defense Commission, led by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, denounced U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week for his offer of a non-aggression pact in return for nuclear dismantlement. The commission called the offer a plot to topple the regime.
The Gaeseong industrial park houses more than 120 South Korean companies, including watchmaker Romanson Co. and Shinwon Corp., an apparel maker.