South Korea’s unification ministry said on Tuesday, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office along the border, after days of increasingly viral rhetoric from Pyongyang.
“North Korea blew up the Kaesong Lyson office at 14:49,” the ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, said in a one-line alert sent to reporters.
The Yonhap news agency cited unspecified sources saying that within minutes of hearing the statement, smoke was seen rising from the long-closed joint industrial area in Kasong, where the liaison office was set up.
The destruction came after the weekend of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un’s powerful sister Kim Yo Jong, “before long, a tragic view of the completely defunct North-South Joint Liaison Office will be seen.”
Analysts say Pyongyang may seek to create a crisis to increase pressure on Seoul, while nuclear talks with Washington are at a standstill.
Since the beginning of June, North Korea has issued a series of condemnations of South hyperactive activists sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the border – something the defenders do on a regular basis.
Last week it announced that it was breaking all official communication links with South Korea.
The leaflets – usually attached to hot air balloons or floating in bottles – criticize North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses and his nuclear ambitions.
“North Korea is disappointed that South America has failed to offer an alternative plan to revive the North-North talks,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a director at the center of Sejong Institute in North Korea. Studies.
“It concludes that the South has failed as a mediator in the process.”
South’s President Moon Jae-in opened the liaison office in September 2018, days before Kim flew to Pyongyang for his third summit.
Officials on both sides were in office during the following months, but inter-Korean relations soured after the collapse of the Hanoi summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in February last year.
Its operations were suspended in January due to a coronovirus epidemic.
Since Pyongyang has condemned the launch of the leaflet, Seoul’s unification ministry has filed a police complaint against the two guard groups and warned of “thorough action” against the activists.
On Monday, the left-leaning moon urged the North not to “close the negotiation window”.
Earlier on Tuesday, North Korea’s military said it was “fully prepared” to take action against the South, including re-entering the disbanded areas under an inter-Korean agreement.
After the Korean War hostilities ended with an armistice in 1953, the two Koreas technically remained at war which was never replaced by a peace treaty.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)