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S. Korea demands talks with North on factory

SEOUL, South Korea -- After weeks of threatening rhetoric from the North, South Korea promised its own unspecified "grave measures" Thursday if Pyongyang rejects talks on a jointly run factory park shuttered for nearly a month.

The factory in the North Korean border town of Kaesong is the most significant casualty so far in the recent deterioration of relations.

Pyongyang barred South Korean managers and cargo from entering North Korea earlier this month, then recalled the 53,000 North Koreans who worked on the assembly lines.

On Thursday, South Korea's Unification Ministry proposed talks on Kaesong and urged the North to respond by noon today, warning that Seoul will take "grave measures" if Pyongyang rebuffs the call.

Spokesman Kim Hyung-suk refused to say what those measures might be. Some analysts said Seoul was likely to pull out the roughly 175 South Korean managers at the complex.

North Korea didn't immediately respond Thursday, the Unification Ministry said.

Kim said South Korea set the deadline because the remaining workers at Kaesong are running short of food and medicine. Kim said North Korea should first allow some South Koreans to cross the border to give food and medicine to the managers. -- AP

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