|Green-House-spokesman-Yoon-Do-han - Photo: YONHAP|
Inter-Korea tentions escalate
Green House spokesman Yoon Do-han said on June 17 that South Korea "will not continue to endure North Korea's unreasonable words and actions". The statement from the Blue House came a day after North Korea collapsed its liaison office with South Korea.
Relations between the two sides have become more tense after Pyongyang criticized Seoul for releasing anti-dumping leaflets. The US reacted to the North's explosion of an inter-Korean office, declaring its full support for Seoul's efforts in inter-Korean relations and calling for Pyongyang to "refrain from counterproductive actions". He suggested that the two sides push for a breakthrough on their own with the Pyongyang-Washington negotiations in limbo.
Earlier this week, South Korean President Moon Jae In delivered a speech on inter-Korean relations during the 20th anniversary of the Seoul-Pyongyang summit. In which, Moon reaffirmed his commitment to the two summit agreements in 2018 with North Korea, and called on Pyongyang not to go against these agreements.
Kim on June 16 criticized Moon's speech. In addition to criticizing Moon's views, Kim has called his remarks "shameless sophistry".
North Korea rejects South Korea's special envoy of reconciliation
On June 17, North Korea confirmed that it rejected an offer to send South Korea's special envoy and announced a military redeployment in the border areas of Kaesong City and Mount Kumgang. .
On the same day, the Blue House spokesman criticized Pyongyang for disclosing South Korea's unpublished offer of sending an envoy to ease tensions in the Korean peninsula.
It's an "unprecedentedly unreasonable" act to deliberately distort the purpose of the proposal, he stressed, adding that the North should have "basic etiquette."
|Korean-scene-explodes-inter-Korean-liaison-office-in-Kaesong - Photo KCNA|
According to the Reuters, this is one of the latest North Korean moves to disable inter-Korean peace agreements. The warning was posted by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) the day after it blasted the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong, part of a 2018 agreement that leaders of the two countries agreed on, amid the explosive tensions related to propaganda leaflets sent by North Koreans abroad to fight back.
KCNA reported that South Korean President Moon Jae In on June 15 offered to send national security adviser Chung Eui Yong and intelligence leader Suh Hoon as special envoy, but Kim Yo Jong, the leader's younger sister North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, "flatly rejected Korea's unwholesome and sinister offer".
KCNA wrote: "Mr. Moon (the President of South Korea) is very supportive of sending special envoys' to "resolve the crisis" and often makes unreasonable suggestions, but he must be clear that the tactics such a trick will no longer work for us.
"The solution to the current crisis between the North and the South, which is caused by the incompetence and irresponsibility of the Korean government, is impossible and can only end when paid at the right price." .
The presidential office has not yet responded to this request.
Also on the morning of June 17, North Korea announced it would redeploy troops in the border areas of Kaesong City and Mount Kumgang. It also said it would re-establish border posts that have been dismantled under a tensions-reducing agreement between Pyongyang and Seoul. Artillery units near the western sea border area, where defectors routinely send anti-destructive leaflets, will be strengthened, alerting them to the "highest fighting level".
North Korea also launched a campaign to spread leaflets against South Korea in the border area. Favorable places for the distribution of leaflets against Korea would open up on the entire front line. Attempts to distribute leaflets will be militarily secured.
"Units of the regiment level and necessary firepower sub-units with defense mission will be deployed in the Mount Kumgang tourist area and the Kaesong Industrial Zone," a spokesperson of the General Staff said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.
"Civil police posts that had been withdrawn from the Demilitarized Zone under the north-south agreement in the military field will be set up again to strengthen the guard over the front line," it said.
Moon's office strongly bristled at the statement
"It is a senseless act to disparage (Moon's speech earlier this week) in a very rude tone without understanding its purpose at all," Yoon Do-han, Cheong Wa Dae's senior secretary for public communication, said.
"We won't tolerate any more of North Korea's indiscreet rhetoric and acts, which fundamentally harm the mutual trust the leaders of the two sides have built so far," he said. "We hope the North side will have basic courtesy."
Relations between the two Koreas have almost stalled since a second summit between the North's leader and U.S. President Donald Trump ended without an agreement in February last year due to differences over how to exchange sanctions relief and denuclearization measures.
|South Korean soldiers patrol along the barbed wire fence in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea on June 15. (Source: AP)|
In Washington, the State Department urged the North to refrain from "further counterproductive actions."
"The United States fully supports the ROK's efforts on inter-Korean relations and urges the DPRK to refrain from further counterproductive actions," a State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency, using the acronyms for the official names of South Korea, the Republic of Korea, and North Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"We are aware that North Korea destroyed the liaison office in Kaesong and remain in close coordination with our Republic of Korea allies," a senior U.S. government official told Yonhap earlier.
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