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DPRK closes border yet again

THE Democratic People's Republic of Korea closed its southern border yesterday for the third time in recent days, even as it told the Republic of Korea it would restore a military hotline severed last week, ROK officials said.

The DPRK's military cut the communications line on March 9 to protest Seoul's decision to hold 12 days of joint military exercises with the United States. The drills ended yesterday.

Since the war games began March 9, DPRK officials have refused three times to let ROK workers commute to and from jobs at a lucrative industrial park in the border town of Kaesong, leaving hundreds stranded in DPRK.

The DPRK said yesterday that its newly elected parliament will convene April 9 - just after a planned satellite launch that has raised regional tensions.

The official Korean Central News Agency reported the timing in a brief dispatch from Pyongyang.

DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, who is believed to have suffered a stroke last year, was unanimously re-elected to a seat on the legislative Supreme People's Assembly in elections on March 8.


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