World News

North Korea Orders Its Workers to Leave Joint Factory Zone

North Korea is pulling more than 50,000 workers out of the Kaesong joint industrial zone with South Korea, cutting its last direct economic link with its southern neighbor.

A senior ruling party official, Kim Yang Gon, told the official Korean Central News Agency that all operations in the zone will be suspended while officials decide whether to re-open it or close it permanently.

South Korean companies in the industrial zone contribute an estimated $90 million each year to the North Korean economy. Last week, North Korea blocked South Korean access to the zone.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Monday that any conflict on the Korean peninsula could be worse that the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. He said he hopes everyone will "calm down and work together."

In Washington, a White House spokesman praised actions by Russia and China to ease the crisis with North Korea.

"I can tell you that we welcome efforts by Beijing and Moscow to encourage Pyongyang to refrain from provocative rhetoric and threats."

On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping did not name North Korea specifically but said no country "should be allowed to throw a region and even the whole world into chaos for selfish gain." Beijing is North Korea's sole financial and diplomatic backer.

In other developments Monday, there were mixed messages from Seoul about whether the North is preparing for a fourth nuclear test.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told lawmakers there are signs of activity at the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site. Later, South Korea's Defense Ministry said it has seen no such evidence.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a Korean, urged North Korea to refrain from "further provocation." He said a fourth nuclear test would breach U.N. Security Council resolutions.

North Korea, angered by a new round of international sanctions following a recent nuclear test, has threatened to retaliate with attacks on the United States, South Korea and U.S. allies in the Asia-Pacific region. The North Korean military command recently announced it was "authorized" to attack the United States using "smaller, lighter and diversified" nuclear weapons.

On Monday, the commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, General James Thurman, canceled a scheduled trip to Washington to testify before several congressional committees this week. The military said that based on developments, it is prudent for Thurman to remain on the peninsula.

North Korea will mark the 101st anniversary of the birth of its founding father, Kim Il Sung, April 15 with pomp, ceremony and displays of military strength. Kim Il Sung led the communist country from 1948 until his death in 1994. His grandson, Kim Jong Un, currently holds power.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs