A week after issuing a warning, North Korea demolished the inter-Korean liaison office in the border city of Kaesong on Tuesday afternoon, ratcheting up the tension on the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea destroyed the office at 2:49 p.m. local time, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification confirmed.
North Korean media officer reported on the demolition, saying that “the liaison office was tragically ruined with a terror-stricken explosion.”
The demolition was done “according to the mindset of the enraged people to surely force human scum and those, who have sheltered the scum, to pay dearly for their crimes,” the Korean Central News Agency wrote.
Pyongyang has been frequently releasing angry statements and threats against Seoul for nearly two weeks, triggered by the longstanding practice of North Korean defectors sending information leaflets across the border via balloons.
Residents on the southern side of the border saw smoke and heard an explosion in the North Korean city, news agency Yonhap reported.
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The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, specifically threatened the office on Saturday, saying in a statement that “before long, a tragic scene of the useless north-south joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen.”
Earlier hours on Tuesday, the North Korean military released a statement saying it was “studying an action plan for taking measures to make the army advance again into the zones that had been demilitarized under the north-south agreement.”
The inter-Korean liaison office was established in September 2018 to facilitate cooperation and communication between the two Koreas during a period of rapprochement marked by summits between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un.
A week ago, North Korea cut off all communications with the South after repeatedly complaining in state-run media about the information leaflets being sent across the border by defectors.
The South Korean presidential Blue House convened an emergency meeting of the National Security Council Tuesday afternoon, spokesman Kang Min-seok told reporters in a text message.
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