The North Korean government has canceled a planned United Nations visit to the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The cancellation came just a day before UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was to visit the industrial center.
The complex lies just north of the South Korean border. It is one of the few remaining examples of South Korea's Sunshine Policy of engagement with North Korea. Under the program, the South has provided aid and support programs to its northern neighbor.
Mr. Ban said he was surprised by the sudden cancellation.
"Early this morning, the authorities of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea informed us, through their diplomatic channel, that they were reversing their decision for me to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex. No explanation was given for this last-minute change."
The UN official had said he wanted to help ease relations and improve security on the Korean peninsula. He said his visit to Kaesong would show the benefits of cooperation between the two countries.
More than 53,000 North Koreans work at 120 South Korean factories in the complex.
South Korean Unification Ministry official Lim Byung-chul also voiced regret and reached out to North Korea.
He says his government once again urges North Korea not to move towards isolation, but toward peace on the Korean peninsula.
Also on Wednesday, North Korea said it has the ability to miniaturize -- or make smaller -- nuclear weapons. The announcement was made on North Korea's state news agency. If confirmed, this ability would give North Korea the ability to place a nuclear weapon on a long or short-range missile.
Chinese nuclear experts recently warned that North Korea has 20 nuclear warheads. North Korea has held underwater missile tests. The technology could soon give it the ability to strike anywhere in the world.
Observers say North Korea's sudden cancellation does not come as a complete surprise. They say the government has ignored UN restrictions to its nuclear program and against a UN resolution. The measure asks the International Criminal Court to investigate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other officials for crimes against humanity.
Phil Robertson works for Human Rights Watch. He says the cancellation of Ban Ki-moon's visit resulted from U.N. efforts to hold North Korea accountable.
"So what it is doing is playing a game of shoot the messenger with the U.N., trying to punish or shut out the U.N. whenever it can. And this latest action to bar Ban Ki-moon from the Kaesong industrial complex is yet another example of that."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke about the North Korean government during his recent visit to Seoul. He said the North has rejected Chinese and Russian efforts to restart international talks about its nuclear program in exchange for economic assistance.
I'm Jim Tedder.
1.reverse n. 背面；相反；倒退；失败 vt. 颠倒；倒转 adj. 反面的；颠倒的；反身的 vi. 倒退；逆叫
They have made it clear they will not reverse the decision to increase prices.
2.last-minute change 临时变更
If there should be any last-minute change, we'd inform you by telephone.
3.miniaturize vt. 使小型化；使微型化（等于miniaturise）
A small slice of a semiconductor, usually silicon, that contains miniaturized electronic circuit.
一种很小的片状半导体材料, 通常是硅材料, 它含有小型化电子电路 。
The missile warhead hit the target, effecting a nuclear explosion.
5.messenger n. 报信者，送信者；先驱
There will be a messenger at the airport to collect the photographs from our courier.
1.South Korean Unification Ministry official Lim Byung-chul also voiced regret and reached out to North Korea.
reach out to 把手伸向，接触
A cadre must reach out to and be one with the masses.
Online learning helps us reach out to new friends.
2.So what it is doing is playing a game of shoot the messenger with the U.N., trying to punish or shut out the U.N. whenever it can.
shut out 排除；关在外面；遮住；阻止…得分(或获胜)：
We shut out the opposing team and won by 3 to 0.
She is very reclusive, to the point of shutting me out of her life.