North Korean State News Agency KCNA announced that Pyongyang intends to close all communication with the South after activists of the South persistently sent leaflets displaying anti-Pyongyang propaganda into the North. After numerous days of Kim Jong-un’s administration threatening to do so, the initiative was officialized and declared on Tuesday, June 8th.
Cutting the hotlines connecting both nations will be the initial step towards eliminating all methods of contacts between the North and the South.
The announcement stated that Pyongyang “will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the North and the South, which has been maintained through the North-South joint liaison office”, as well as other communication links “from 12:00 on June 9, 2020”
This measure would affect the line that linked both militaries, a hotline between both of the government’s parties and an inter-Korean “trial communication line”.
Tension has built up between Seoul and Pyongyang ever since last week when Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, initially responded to the divulgence of material against the North Korean government. She threatened to dismantle a military agreement previously done with South Korea if the aggression did not stop. As the propagation of such material continued, the KCNA reported that Kim Yo Jong “stressed that the work towards the South should thoroughly turn into the one against enemy.”
This conflict adds more strain to the relationship between the two nations that seemed to be improving in 2018. In 2019 tension began to build up after the summit in Hanoi. After that, North Korea commenced cutting South Korea off in 2019
The report by KCNA concluded by stating “We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face to face with the South Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay.”
The South Korean government has yet to comment on the current situation but it had previously communicated in an official press release that “such action of distributing leaflets should be ceased as it not only poses a risk to the lives and property of our nationals living in the border area, but also hinders inter-Korean quarantine cooperation.”