North Korea has indicated it will cease all inter-Korean contacts.
Calling South Korea “the enemy” in what Pyongyang claims will be the first in a series of actions against their neighbor to the south, the North yesterday ceased the now routine daily calls to a liaison office in the city of Kaesong on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone.
The office was set up two years ago in a bid to help reduce tensions between the two Koreas who, on paper at least, remain at war with no official peace agreement yet deemed to have settled the Korean War which ended almost 70 years ago.
In a statement released by the the state arm of North Korea’s media, the Korean Central News Agency, it was announced that the North “will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the North and the South, which has been maintained through the North-South joint liaison office… from 12:00 on 9 June 2020.”
The neighboring Koreas routinely make two calls a day, one in the morning and the other in the evening.
On Monday, however, the same news agency said “We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face-to-face with the (S)outh Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay.”
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, had hinted at such a course of action in response to what she called South Korea based defector groups sending leaflets over the border into the North.
Analysts are now trying to second guess the North Korean leadership with early assumptions based on Pyongyang possibly trying to gain ground ahead of future talks in which it can ask for more trade concessions or food shipments in return for the resumption of normal ties.