Breaking News

North Korea halts all communications with South in row over leafleting

North Korean students take part in a rally denouncing defectors from the North as they march from the Pyongyang Youth Park Open-Air Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on June 8, 2020Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

North Korean students held a rally to denounce defectors on Monday

North Korea has said it will cut off all inter-Korean communication lines with the South, including a hotline between the two nation’s leaders.

The North said this was the first in a series of actions, describing South Korea as “the enemy”.

Daily calls, which have been made to a liaison office located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, will cease from Tuesday.

The two states had set up the office to reduce tensions after talks in 2018.

North and South Korea are technically still at war because no peace agreement was reached when the Korean War ended in 1953.

  • South Korea plans to stop balloons to North Korea
  • What do we know about North Korea?

North Korea “will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the North and the South, which has been maintained through the North-South joint liaison office… from 12:00 on 9 June 2020,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report said.

Military communication channels will also be cut, North Korea said.

When the liaison office was temporarily closed in January because of Covid-19 restrictions, contact between the two states was maintained by phone.

  • Could North Korea handle a Covid-19 outbreak?

The two Koreas made two phone calls a day through the office, at 09:00 and 17:00. On Monday, the South said that for the first time in 21 months, its morning call had gone unanswered, although contact was made in the afternoon.

“We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face-to-face with the south Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay,” KNCA said.

Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader’s sister, threatened last week to close the office unless South Korea stopped defector groups from sending leaflets into the North.

She said the leaflet campaign was a hostile act that violated the peace agreements made during the 2018 Panmunjom summit between the South’s Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un.

Media captionSouth Korean activists launch propaganda balloons over border (2014 video)

North Korean defectors occasionally send balloons carrying leaflets critical of the communist region into the North, sometimes with supplies to entice North Koreans to pick them up.

North Koreans can only get news from state-controlled media, and most do not have access to the internet.

Ties between the North and South appeared to improve in 2018, when the leaders of both countries met three times. Such high-level meetings had not taken place in over a decade.

But Pyongyang largely cut off contact with Seoul following the collapse of a summit between Kim and US president Donald Trump in Hanoi last year that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The two Koreas remain technically at war because the 1950-1953 Korean war ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

Article source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52974061

Related posts

Civil partnerships: First mixed-sex unions take place

Times of News

PM Johnson ‘stable’ in intensive care, needed oxygen after COVID-19 worsened

Times of News

Scots banned from visiting Spain this summer

Times of News