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U.S. supports South Korea decision to shut down Kaesong complex

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |   Feb. 11, 2016 at 5:32 AM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A State Department official told reporters that South Korea's decision to shut down a jointly operated factory park in North Korea is consistent with the position of the international community.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel on Wednesday said the decision showed South Korea understood the seriousness of North Korea provocations, adding it was a difficult decision for Seoul, Yonhap reported.

North Korea also was the target of new U.S. sanctions that passed unanimously at the Senate. The North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act is a bipartisan bill targeting North Korea's access to funds that could go toward further development of weapons, including miniaturized warheads and intercontinental ballistic missile technology, USA Today reported.

Ahead of Wednesday's vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate had an opportunity to hold North Korea responsible for its belligerent behavior -- and Minority Leader Harry Reid said Kim Jong Un's "reckless behavior will not go unanswered."

Pyongyang is not only the target of sanctions for its nuclear weapons development.

North Korea is also one of the reasons President Barack Obama has planned a 35 percent increase in cybersecurity expenditures as part of his $4.1 trillion budget proposal to Congress, South Korean newspaper Seoul Shinmun reported.

The president has proposed $19 billion go toward fighting cybersecurity breaches originating from not only North Korea, but also China and Russia. The budget includes the cost of replacing old information technology systems deemed necessary, according to the president. The privacy and financial security of millions of Americans are under the potential threat of cyberattacks, Obama said.

In a separate statement, James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, had said U.S. information systems are vulnerable to potential cyberattacks originating from Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

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