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North Korea to liquidate South Korean assets in joint projects

Pyongyang has said it will sell off all South Korean assets at the two joint projects where the countries had cooperated. The move comes after sanctions were placed on the North for its recent missile and nuclear tests.

"We will completely liquidate all assets of South Korean firms and related institutions left behind in our region," the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in statement on Thursday. The statement was delivered by the North's official Korean Central News agency (KCNA).

North Korea's vow to sell off all South Korean assets in the country is the latest move made by Pyongyang, and comes after the

North fired a pair of short-range missiles into the sea

in a direct response to unilateral sanctions announced by South Korea on Tuesday.

The North also threatened nuclear strikes against Seoul and the United States after the start of the

South Korean-US military drills.

Tensions have been on the rise ever since the North's nuclear test in January and last month's ballistic rocket launch. The UN Security Council responded to the test with tough sanctions, which Pyongyang condemned as "gangster-like."

Projects sold

"From this time on, we nullify all agreements adopted by North and South Korea on economic cooperation and exchange programs," the committee said.

The projects still left in the country are the Mount Kumgang tourism resort and the Kaesong joint industrial complex.

The Mount Kumgang tourism resort was a major inter-Korean project that attracted a large number of South Korean tourists between 1998 and 2008. However, tours to the resort were suspended after a South Korean woman was shot dead by a soldier for supposedly straying into a restricted zone.

The Kaesong industrial complex is said to include some 120 firms and is estimated to be worth more than 820 billion won (604 million euros). The industrial complex employed more than 53,000 North Koreans, who created cheap electronics, footwear and textiles.

smm/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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