North Korea Blows Up Joint Liaison Office As Tensions With South Korea Rise
North Korea is said to have blown up a joint liaison office it shares with South Korea, amid growing tensions over defectors sending leaflets into the North.
Reports from South Korea say an explosion was heard at 2.49pm local time before smoke was seen rising from the four-storey industrial complex building, which is used to facilitate communications between the two Koreas.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry has since confirmed that the building, located in the border town of Kaesong, had been destroyed earlier today, June 16.
You can see a clip of the smoke billowing out the building here:
Fortunately, the complex had been closed in January as a result of the current health crisis, meaning no one was in it at the time of the explosion.
The incident came just hours after the North threatened to move its army into the neutral zone amid growing tensions over defectors sending leaflets criticising North Korea leader Kim Jong Un over the border via balloons.
North Korea has claimed these messages violated the peace agreement, while the country’s General Staff of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) confirmed it is getting ready to send troops into the demilitarised area between the two countries to ‘turn the line into a fortress’.
The official KCNA state news agency said in a statement, via Sky News:
Our army will rapidly and thoroughly implement any decisions and orders of the Party and government.
Suh Ho, South Korea’s Vice Unification Minister, visited Seokmo island on the western border shortly before the explosion to see how prepared the police and the coastguard were to stop people sending leaflets into the North.
Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jung, recently said the North would demolish the ‘useless’ inter-Korean liaison office, which is believed to have cost the South £6.7 million in refurbishment costs. She also said it would be up to the military to come up with the retaliation tactics against the ‘enemy’ South.
The KPA’s General Staff said:
Our army is keeping a close watch on the current situation in which the (North-South) relations are turning worse and worse, and getting itself fully ready for providing a sure military guarantee to any external measures to be taken by the party and government.
Both North and South Korea signed an agreement designed to reduce tensions across the border in 2018. They agreed to both take steps to reduce conventional military threats, like border buffers and no-fly zones.
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