North Korea to ‘up the ante’ around DMZ | Daily News


 

North Korea to ‘up the ante’ around DMZ

SOUTH KOREA: North Korea threatened Wednesday to bolster its military presence in and around the Demilitarized Zone, a day after blowing up its liaison office with the South, prompting sharp criticism from Seoul.

In a series of denunciations of South Korea, the nuclear-armed North rejected an offer from President Moon Jae-in to send envoys for talks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's powerful sister Kim Yo Jong called it a "tactless and sinister proposal", the official KCNA news agency reported, and she issued an extensive diatribe condemning Moon as apparently "insane".

Seoul retorted with unusually stern criticism, calling her remarks "senseless" and "very rude".

"We warn we will no longer tolerate the North's unreasonable acts and words," said Blue House spokesman Yoon Do-han, calling Pyongyang's disclosure of Moon's offer of envoys "unprecedently senseless".

And its defence ministry said the North's threats would violate several inter-Korean agreements. "The North will surely pay the price if such actions are taken," it said in a statement. The row prompted Seoul's Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul to offer his resignation Wednesday, saying he "takes responsibility" for the worsening of inter-Korean relations.

The demolition of the liaison office in the Kaesong Industrial Zone -- just across the border in Northern territory - came after Pyongyang vehemently condemned Seoul for anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent by defectors into the North.

Activities at the office had already been suspended for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, a spokesman for the North's military said it would deploy regiment-level units to the Mount Kumgang tourist area and the Kaesong complex.

- AFP


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