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Why North Korea cut off all communications with the South

by ace
Why North Korea cut off all communications with the South

Conflicts on the Asian continent follow. North Korea has threatened to break a military tension reduction agreement with South Korea if Seoul does not prevent North Korean asylum seekers from sending anti-regime propaganda to the north. On Tuesday, Kim Yo-jong, sister of dictator Kim Jong-un and one of the country's top officials, cut off telephone communications between countries.

The announcement was made by KCNA, a state press agency, which spared no offense to asylum seekers, a term that refers to someone persecuted in their country of origin who takes shelter in another. “The disgusting scum has committed hostile acts against the Democratic Republic of North Korea by taking advantage of the irresponsibility and collusion of the South Korean authorities (…) We have come to the conclusion that there is no longer any need to sit down with the South Korean authorities. Koreans because there is nothing more to discuss with them, since they have only aroused our dismay ”.

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KCNA reported that Kim Yo-jong and vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party, Kim Yong Chol, discussed a plan to deal with the "enemy" and the "scum" that sent the propaganda leaflets. The cut in telephone communications was the first North Korean step. According to state media, communications facilities on the coast, on the 38th parallel – the demilitarized border that is strongly defended by the two countries – were shut down, and a direct line between Kim Jong-un and the South Korean Presidency.

Calls between offices were always made at 9 am and 5 pm. During a press conference, Unification Ministry spokesman Yoh Sangkey confirmed that this was the first time the north had not answered calls since the lines were established in 2018.

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Sangkey said the sending of propaganda by exiles violated the Panmunjom Declaration, signed by the leaders of the two countries and which established an economic reintegration plan for the region.

“Leaflets and balloons sent to the north violate the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration and must be suspended. As these activities pose a threat to the life and property of our citizens living in the border area, the government is calling for an end to this. The residents themselves have also expressed their opposition to these activities, ”said the spokesman.

The sending of the balloons was claimed by the Defenders of a Free North Korea, a non-governmental organization composed of asylum seekers from the north. The group claims to have sent half a million leaflets, 2,000 dollar bills and 1,000 memory cards, but without specifying their content.

The balloons, however, may be just a pretext for North Korea to put even more pressure on Seoul. Because of economic sanctions by the United States and the United Nations Security Council, Pyongyang, under severe economic pressure, is unable to import South Korean products or integrate economically, because the neighboring government fears it will suffer consequences if it violates the sanctions.

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The North Korean strategy is not to make Seoul comfortable, and to force the president, Moon Jae-in, to cooperate directly with Kim Jong-un, while northern relations with the United States, which maintain a military force in the south, are frozen. . In May, the day after Kim's reappearance after an abstention period, shots were fired at the two countries' borders.

Relations between Pyongyang and the United States were flirted with the war, when American President Donald Trump threatened to use his military strength against Kim in 2017 for the first meetings between the leaders of countries in search of a denuclearization agreement on the peninsula in exchange of withdrawal of sanctions.

Washington wants the complete denuclearization of the north, while Kim first wants the lifting of sanctions to carry out the country's disarmament. The result was the failed Hanoi summit in 2019, in which the North Korean leader accused Americans of "bad faith". Since then, ballistic missile tests have returned and threats have increased. Moon Jae-in, tried to detach himself from the American image by offering integration projects with the northern regime, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, which froze Chinese tourism in the country – one of the biggest sources of income -, Pyongyang sees itself every increasingly under economic pressure.

On May 29, the US government announced the opening of lawsuits against 30 Chinese and North Korean citizens for laundering $ 2.5 billion to finance North Korea's ballistic missile project.

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