North Korea launches Kaesong liaison office used for talks with South

North Korea launches Kaesong liaison office used for talks with South

North Korean state media said the four-story building, located in the town of Kaesong on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas, was “completely destroyed by an” amazing explosion “at 2:50 p.m. Local time.

Shortly afterwards, black smoke billowed over the site.

The association’s office has been closed since January 30 due to the new coronavirus pandemic, according to South Korea’s Ministry of Unification. South Korean staff had not been to the building since, the ministry said.

But its devastation is extremely symbolic and could signal a turning point in relations between the two countries that were committed to a “new era of peace” three years ago.

Pyongyang has issued several threats against Seoul in recent days. The most recent was one a statement issued by North Korean state media on Tuesday that Pyongyang had launched an “intensive retaliatory campaign” in response to plans by a group of dissidents to use balloons to send leaflets against North Korea north of the DMZ.

North Korea has claimed that the leaflets violated the agreement between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in 2018 at their first meeting, when both leaders agreed to “stop all hostilities” and eliminate their means. , including transmitting through loudspeakers and distributing leaflets. “along their common borders. It is illegal for North Koreans to consume information that has not been approved by the country’s powerful propaganda machine, and this can have dire consequences.

The liaison office reopened and was renovated as part of that agreement to help the two Koreas communicate, but the future was questioned last week when North Korea announced it was suspending all communications with South Korea, including a Connect to Leaders line. of the two countries, in response to the leaflets.

“The recent foolish act of daring has damaged the dignity of our top leadership,” the KCNA statement said on Tuesday.

“People will see clearly what serious punishment our people will impose on South Korean authorities and how they will wipe human foam off the ground.”

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s sister and perhaps the second most powerful person in the country, has called on the South Korean government to punish the dissidents, whom he called “traitors”, “human foam” and “riff-raff who dared”. to undermine the absolute prestige of our Supreme Leader who represents our country and his great dignity, “according to a statement from North Korea’s state news agency KCNA on Saturday.

Kim also hinted at the statement that North Korea’s liaison office would be destroyed in some way.

“A long time ago, a tragic scene of the completely useless North-South joint connection that collapsed completely will be seen,” he said in a statement on Saturday.

It is unclear if anyone was inside the building, as Pyongyang said last week that it was completely shutting down communication with South Korea.

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