North Korea has decided to suspend military action plans against South Korea, the official KCNA news agency reported on Wednesday, as a report suggested North Korean troops were taking down loudspeakers recently reinstalled at the fortified border. Political tensions between the rival Koreas have been rising over Pyongyang’s objections to plans by defector-led groups in the South to send propaganda leaflets into the North.
North Korea has been urged to abandon plans to send 12 million propaganda leaflets to the South using balloons. North Korea has been urged to abandon plans to send 12 million propaganda leaflets to the South using balloons. South Korea has called on Pyongyang to suspend its plan, saying the leaflets “are not helpful to relations at all”.
North Korea on Tuesday bombed an inter-Korean liaison office in a town on the border with South Korea in an escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. South Korea’s vice unification minister, Suh Ho, who co-headed the liaison office, said the bombing was “unprecedented in inter-Korean relations,” calling it “a nonsensical act that should have not happened.”
North Korea will shut down a liaison office it shares with South Korea by noon on Tuesday, along with other official communication lines including a hotline between its leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In. State media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the country was cutting communication lines because South Korean authorities had “connived” to carry out “hostile acts” against North Korea.
Shots fired by North Korea across its border with South Korea were probably “accidental”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said. Both countries exchanged gunfire around a southern guard post – the first time there has been gunfire at the border since 2017. The shots were fired across the border by North Korean troops at 7.41am and South Korea responded by broadcasting a warning and firing two shots at the North.
South Korean officials are emphasizing that they have detected no unusual movements in North Korea and are cautioning against reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be ill or is being isolated because of coronavirus concerns. At a closed door forum on Sunday, South Korea’s Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said the government has the intelligence capabilities to say with confidence that there were no indications of anything unusual.
China and South Korea cast doubt on Tuesday on reports North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was gravely ill after media outlets said he underwent a cardiovascular procedure. Speculation over the state of his health was fuelled by his absence from a key anniversary event with the Daily NK, a specialty website run mostly by North Korean defectors, on Tuesday citing unidentified sources in the isolated state.
North Korea has fired several suspected cruise missiles from both the ground and air off the country’s east coast, according to South Korea’s military. Tuesday’s suspected missile tests came on the eve of a national holiday in North Korea to celebrate the 108th birthday of the country’s late founder, Kim Il Sung – the grandfather of the country’s current leader, Kim Jong Un.
North Korea has fired three unidentified projectiles off its eastern coast a week after firing two short-range missiles, South Korea’s military said. In the aftermath of that launch, the North Korean president’s sister, Kim Yo-jong’s, condemned South Korea as a “frightened dog barking” when it lodged protests against the launches. The projectiles were launched on Monday from the coastal town of Sondok.
North Korea has fired two unidentified short-range projectiles from an area near the coastal city of Wonsan into waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan, South Korea’s military said Monday. North Korean state media reported that Kim presided over the exercise, which was intended to “judge the mobility and the fire power strike ability of the defense units.”