On Tuesday, the North Korean regime destroyed the South Liaison Office on its land, which was a symbol of detente on the peninsula, raising tensions after weeks of oral attacks in the south.
Following a hearing explosion and smoke seen on the border between the two Koreas, the South Korean unity ministry confirmed that the northern regime destroyed Seoul’s liaison office on Tuesday, June 16. This is another step after weeks of tension between the two countries, which are officially still at war.
“North Korea detonated the Kaesong Liaison Office at 2:49 p.m.” (6:49 p.m. GMT), the ministry spokesman is responsible for relations between the two Koreas in a statement to the press a few minutes after an explosion heard near Kaesong, the city where the office was located.
Impaired relations between Korea and Korea
The North Korean official press office KCNA, for its part, said the building had been “tragically demolished by a formidable explosion” to force “human scum and those who protect it to pay dearly for its crime”, the agency continues to take up the inaugural expression of the Nordic to designate defects.
The South Korean presidency immediately called for an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
This liaison office, which contained about twenty officials from the two countries, had been opened in September 2018, ahead of a third summit between South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North leader Kim Jong-un.
But relations between Korea have gradually deteriorated in the wake of the fiasco at the second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, in February 2019 in Hanoi.
Since the beginning of June, Pyongyang has multiplied vitriol attacks against its neighbor, especially against North Korean defectors who from the south send propaganda sheets to the North beyond the demilitarized zone (DMZ).
The destruction comes after threats made this weekend by Kim Yo Jong, the powerful younger sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un. And last week, the North Korean regime announced the closure of its political communication channels and military with the South Korean “enemy”.
Behind the destruction of the North Korea Liaison Office “lies negotiations with the United States”
“Transform the front line into a fortress”
Brochures, often hung on balloons flying to the territory of North Korea or inserted in bottles thrown into the border, generally contain criticism of Kim Jong-un’s record on human rights. “The man or his nuclear ambitions.
Some experts believe that Pyongyang is trying to provoke a crisis with Seoul at the time nuclear negotiations with Washington are stopped.
Recognizing the deterioration of inter-Korean relations, the Korean People’s Army General Staff on Tuesday said it was working on an “action plan” to “turn the front line into a fortress,” according to the North Korean official KCNA.
This would include the resumption of areas demilitarized under an Inter-Korean agreement, he said.
South Korean media suspect that this could mean relocation of guard posts that the two neighbors decided in 2018 to remove to ease tensions.
The Nordic army “completely ready” to act towards the south
The North Korean military also plans to send “large-scale” leaflets south, the statement said.
On Monday, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, a major architect for the 2018 approach, had urged the North not to allow the “dialogue window to close.” On Tuesday, the North Korean army declared itself “fully ready” to act towards the south.
Since the protests in the north against the sending of leaflets from the south, Seoul has initiated legal proceedings against two groups of North Korean dissidents accused of sending these propaganda parts across the border.
Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Center for North Korea Studies at the Sejong Institute in Seoul, said: “North Korea is frustrated by the fact that the South has not proposed an alternative plan to resume talks between the United States and the North, leaving it at peace to create a climate that promotes their recovery. “
“She concluded that the South had failed as a mediator in the process,” he said.
The Korean War (1950-1953) was punctured by a weapon of arms and not by a peace treaty, which means that the two neighbors are still, technically speaking, in a state of war.
With AFP and Reuters