North Korea blows up liaison office with South Korea

North Korea detonates a liaison office in Kaesong, used for talks with South Korea

North Korea’s official media reported that the four-storey building, located in Kaesong on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, was “completely destroyed” by a “wonderful explosion” at 2:50 pm. Local time.

There was black smoke billowing over the site which was visible from the South Korean side of the border soon after.

The contact office has been closed since January 30 because of the new pandemic coronavirus, according to the South Korean Unification Ministry. The ministry said that the South Korean employees have not gone to the building since then.

But its destruction is very symbolic, and it could mark a turning point in relations between two countries that committed to a “new era of peace” less than three years ago.

Pyongyang has made a number of threats against Seoul in recent days. The most recent A statement released by North Korean media on Tuesday He said Pyongyang had launched a “massive retaliation campaign” in response to plans by a group of dissidents to use balloons to send anti-North Korean leaflets to the north of the DMZ.

North Korea claimed that the leaflets violated the deal concluded by Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in their first summit in 2018, when the two leaders agreed to stop “all hostilities and eliminate their means, including broadcasting over loudspeakers and distributing leaflets” along Their common border. It is illegal for ordinary North Koreans to consume information that is not approved by the country’s powerful propaganda machine, and this could have severe consequences.

The liaison office reopened and was renewed as part of that deal to help the two Koreas communicate, but its future came into question last week when North Korea announced it had cut off all contact with South Korea, including the hotline aimed directly at linking the leaders of the two countries in response to the publications.

“The last bold act of boldness has harmed the dignity of our top leadership,” said the statement, released by the KCNA news agency on Tuesday.

“The world will clearly see what severe punishment our people will direct to the South Korean authorities and how they will wipe out the scum of people from Earth.”

Kim Yoo Jung, Kim Jong Un’s sister and perhaps the second most powerful person in the country, demanded the South Korean government to punish dissidents, whom she described as “traitors”, “human scum” and “rafals who dared to utter the prestige of the supreme leader who represents our country and its great dignity” , According to a statement quoted by the official North Korea News Agency on Saturday.

In that statement, Kim also hinted that the North Korean liaison office would be destroyed in some way.

“A long time ago, a tragic scene of the collapsed north-south liaison office will be seen in vain,” she said in a statement on Saturday.

It is unclear if anyone was inside the building, as Pyongyang said last week it had completely cut off contact with South Korea.

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