North Korea, on 9 June, announced that it is severing hotline communication with South Korea. Subsequently, it will sever other ties with South Korea. The announcement was reported in the North Korean state news agency KCNA.
Earlier last week, North Korea had threatened to close the liaison office with South Korea and other collaborative projects. The action was taken after North Korea accused Seoul of sending leaflets and other objectionable materials to North Korea.
The KCNA report adds that top North Korean officials, including Kim Yo Jong, sister of supreme leader Kim Jong Un, are for actions against South Korea.
The action will mean North Korea will shut down communication with inter-Korean liaison offices and hotlines connecting the two countries. Hotlines connecting the two heads of nations will also be suspended.
According to a South Korean spokesperson, North Korea refrained from customary calls to liaison offices or in the two hotlines.
The two Koreas are engaged in routine calls every day, which are a way to manage essential means of communication.
The South Korean unification ministry, which is responsible for managing affairs with North Korea, said that it would continue to work towards agreed principle to maintain peace and prosperity in the Korean peninsula.
Yesterday, North Korean officials did not attend the morning call. However, they responded to the afternoon call.
The two sides had set up this arrangement in 2018 to diffuse tension. In the same year, leaders of both the Koreas had met thrice to initiate dialogue.
The channels of communication are critical to the peace process, which aims to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons program. International sanctions remain imposed against the regime in North Korea for its weapons program.
As per reports, influential Kim Yo Jong also wants to walk out of the military agreement signed with Seoul.
Analysts believe that the actions might be related to economic hardships caused by the sanctions rather than North Korean dissidents’ defection.
Relations with South Korea had deteriorated since last year when talks between US President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un failed to get any breakthrough in nuclear disarmament talks.
After the Korean war in 1950-53, the two Koreas, technically, remain in the war. Both sides ended the war by signing an armistice treaty rather than a peace treaty.