North Korea announced on Wednesday that it will redeploy troops to demilitarized border areas, rejecting South Korea’s offer to send special envoys to ease tensions and ending effectively Reconciliation efforts in 2018.
The movements, reported by the state news agency KCNA, came a in the aftermath of Pyongyang’s destruction of the joint liaison office that had been set up in the border town of Kaesong as part of the peace accords, and strongly criticized the South Korean presidential office.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in proposed Monday to send his national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and spy chief Suh Hoon to Pyongyang as special envoys, and urged Pyongyang to resume dialogue.
But Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a senior official in the ruling party, “categorically rejected the proposal tactlessly and grimly,” according to KCNA.
Kim ridiculed Moon’s offer and accused him of using emissaries to deal with the crises and of suggesting “absurd proposals”. Said KCNA.
“The solution to the current North-South crisis caused by the incompetence and irresponsibility of the South Korean authorities is impossible and can only be terminated when the appropriate price is paid. ”
In response, Moon’s office said the South would no longer accept “unreasonable behavior” from the North.
Yoon Do-han, spokesman for the presidential Blue House, said that Kim’s criticisms of Moon were rude and senseless and “fundamentally damaged the trust established by the two leaders.”
The escalation, canceling cross-border economic development peace deals, would be a major setback to Moon’s request for a more lasting reconciliation with North Korea, and would further complicate the U.S.’s already stalled efforts to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.
Kim Yo also severely criticized Moon in another KCNA statement, saying he had turned inter-Korean relations into an “American puppet.”
“In the eyes of the Kims, the Moon administration has given too many false hopes that it would defy American pressure to advance their relations,” Chun Yung-woo, a former southern nuclear envoy, told Reuters news agency. -Korean.
On Wednesday, in a separate KCNA report, a spokesperson for the General Staff of the (North) Korean People’s Army (KPA) announced that it would send troops to Mount Kumgang and Kaesong near the border, where the two Koreas had previously carried out joint economic projects.
Police stations that had been withdrawn from the heavily fortified demilitarized zone (DMZ) would be resettled, while artillery units near the western border of the sea where defectors frequently send leaflets would be reinforced thanks to the alert of enhanced preparation to the level of “first class combat duty”. “Said the spokesperson.
North Korea will also resume its own propaganda campaign, sending anti-Seoul leaflets across the border, he added.
“Areas suitable for the dissemination of leaflets against the South will open across the entire front line and our campaign for the dissemination of leaflets will be guaranteed militarily and rigorous security measures will be taken,” he said.
NEW: North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun is leading the demolition of the Kaesong liaison office at the top of page two. pic.twitter.com/sVPx7buBNC
– NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) June 16, 2020
The APK said on Tuesday that it was considering an “action plan” to return to the demilitarized zones as part of a 2018 inter-Korean military pact and “transform the front line into a fortress.”
The Seoul Ministry of Defense urged North Korea to abide by the agreement, under which the two sides agreed to cease “all hostile acts” and dismantled a number of structures along the demilitarized zone.
Monday marked the 20th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit. Moon regretted that relations between North Korea and the United States and between Koreans have not progressed as hoped.