On June 16th, relations between North and South Korea took a somewhat sudden turn for the worse.
North Korea blew up a liaison office set up to improve communications with the South, according to media reports.
South Korea’s unification ministry said the North had set off an explosion at the joint liaison office at 2:49 pm, in the North Korean border town of Kaesong.
YonHap, the South Korean outlet responsible for most of the anti-North propaganda, reported that Pyongyang said the liaison office had been ‘tragically ruined with a terrific explosion’.
Apparently, it was blown up after a warning by Kim Jong-Un’s sister, Kim Yo-Jong.
“Before long, a tragic scene of the useless North-South joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen,” she said on June 13th.
Just hours before the liaison office explosion, North Korea’s KCNA reported that the army is “getting fully ready” to take military action against South Korea if activists continue their campaign of sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea.
In the latest warning from the North, the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPD) said it has been studying an “action plan” to reenter zones that were demilitarized in 2018, threatening to “turn the front line into a fortress.”
“Our army will rapidly and thoroughly implement any decisions and orders of the Party and government,” the KPA said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
Responding to the threat, the South Korean defense ministry called for Pyongyang to honor the 2018 agreement.
“We’re taking the situation seriously,” defense ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo said in a briefing. “Our military is maintaining readiness posture to be able to respond to any situation.”
The entire situation is a result of two factors:
- Defector-led groups have taken to regularly sending flyers along with food, money, mini radios, and USB sticks containing South Korean dramas and news into North Korea by way of balloon or bottles thrown into the river. These leaflets also criticize the North’s alleged human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions.
- The US is entirely failing to meet its side of the obligations when it comes to assisting in the de-escalation which also causes the North to fend for itself.
On June 15th, South Korea’s military has strengthened its monitoring of North Korea, but no unusual moves have been detected so far.
“We are closely monitoring North Korean military’s moves and are maintaining a firm military readiness posture. As of yet, there has been no incident to give additional explanations on,” JCS spokesperson Col. Kim Jun-rak told a regular press briefing.
Describing the current tensions on the peninsula as “extremely high,” Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said the military is maintaining a firm readiness posture “against all possible situations.”
“In order to effectively curb and respond to North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats, our military will … continue to develop various measures to implement a catered deterrence strategy based on a firm South Korea-U.S. alliance,” Jeong said.
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