North Korea on Friday rejected South Korea's "fraudulent" proposal for talks on restarting operations at a joint industrial zone and challenged Seoul to withdraw all remaining staff from the area.
South Korea on Thursday had given the North 24 hours to agree to formal negotiations on the future of the Kaesong complex, warning of "significant measures" if Pyongyang declined.
Dismissing what it called the South's "fraudulent" ultimatum, the North's top military body issued a statement insisting that any decisive move on Kaesong would come from its side.
"If the South Korean puppet regime keeps aggravating the situation, it will be (North Korea), not South Korea, that will be forced to take the final decisive and crucial measure first," the National Defence Commission (NDC) said.Tensions running high
Insisting that South Korean government officials were responsible for the standoff over Kaesong, the NDC said resorting to "ultimatum-like announcements... would only advance their final destruction".
Established in 2004, Kaesong lies 10 kilometers (six miles) inside North Korea and houses 123 South Korean firms.
The last remaining example of inter-Korean cooperation, it is a crucial hard currency source for the impoverished North, through taxes and revenues and from its cut of worker wages.AFP