SEOUL, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- South Korea has ordered the shutdown of a jointly operated factory park in the North Korean city of Kaesong, but analysts say the North is likely to find other sources of income that include increasing the number of forced laborers sent abroad.
Seoul's Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo stated Wednesday the government decided to suspend operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in order to prevent Kaesong funds from being used for the development of North Korea's nuclear weapons, South Korean news service Edaily reported.
Seoul had been considering blocking capital flows to Kaesong, the last major inter-Korea project, since Jan. 6, when North Korea announced its fourth "successful" test of a thermonuclear weapon, Yonhap reported.
Critics are saying the decision is premature and does not provide a solution to the nuclear crisis.
Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said Kaesong was the "last passage between North and South, and that the issue should have been approached more carefully."
"[The South] had run out of cards that could really strike North Korea where it hurts, and it has actually used the last remaining card," Kim said.
Chung Sung-jang, an analyst at South Korea's Sejong Institute, said the South's move does not guarantee that China or Russia would move toward tougher sanctions and that Pyongyang can make up for lost revenue by dispatching more workers overseas, who earn cash for the regime at manual labor sites in China, Russia and the Middle East.
South Korean business owners affiliated with Kaesong said the government had not warned them ahead of the official announcement, South Korean media network Financial News reported.
The South's Kaesong Industrial Complex Business Association said that while the suspension is recognized as a response to the nuclear and long-range missile provocations, they cannot accept a "unilateral" decision.
One sports apparel manufacturer said business owners, however, have had no choice but to comply.
There are now 185 South Koreans at Kaesong, Edaily reported.