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North Korea cancels UN chief’s visit to Kaesong complex

May 20, 2015, 8:56 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS
The UN chief said this decision by Pyongyang was "deeply regrettable"
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Vehicles with workers of Kaesong Industrial Complex are waiting to enter North Korea

Vehicles with workers of Kaesong Industrial Complex are waiting to enter North Korea

© EPA/KIM CHUL-SOO

UNITED NATIONS, May 20. /TASS/. North Korea’s authorities have reversed their decision to allow UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to visit the inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong, giving "no explanation" for this last-minute change, the UN chief has told the Seoul Digital Forum.

"Early this morning, the authorities of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea [North Korea] informed us, through their diplomatic channels, that they were reversing their decision for me to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex," he said.

The UN chief said this decision by Pyongyang was "deeply regrettable." However, despite the move, Mr. Ban said he "will not spare any efforts to encourage the DPRK to work with the international community for peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and beyond."

Mr. Ban was due to visit the Kaesong industrial complex in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on Thursday. This was expected to be the first such visit by a United Nations chief in more than 20 years.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq earlier told reporters that during his visit to Kaesong the UN chief was due to meet with North Korea’s officials. The visit was agreed with both Pyongyang and Seoul.

The Kaesong industrial complex was opened in 2004. It is located to the north of the demilitarized zone separating the Korean Peninsula in two parts since the signing of an armistice agreement after the 1950-1953 war. Some 120 South Korean companies are currently working on its territory.

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