NKorea says it will cut communication channels with South

NKorea says it will cut communication channels with South

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — North Korea said Tuesday it will cut off all communication channels with South Korea as it escalates its pressure on the South for failing to stop activists from floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

The North Korean warning came as relations between the two Koreas have been strained amid a prolonged deadlock in broader nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington. Some experts say North Korea may be deliberately creating tensions to bolster internal unity or launch bigger provocation in the face of persistent U.S.-led sanctions.

The North’s Korean Central News Agency said Tuesday that all cross-border communication lines will be cut off at Tuesday noon. It said it will be “the first step of the determination to completely shut down all contact means with South Korea and get rid of unnecessary things.”

“The South Korean authorities connived at the hostile acts against (North Korea) by the riff-raff, while trying to dodge heavy responsibility with nasty excuses,” it said. “They should be forced to pay dearly for this.”

Since last week, North Korea has increasingly expressed its anger over the leafleting by threatening to permanently shut down a liaison office with South Korea and a jointly run factory park, as well as nullify a 2018 inter-Korean tension-reduction agreement. North Korean citizens have also staged a series of mass anti-Seoul public rallies, something the North typically organizes in times of tensions with the outside world.

North Korea has in recent months suspended virtually all co-operation with South Korea as its nuclear negotiations with the United States remains stalemated since the breakdown of a summit between its leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in early 2019. A main sticking point in the U.S.-North Korea diplomacy is a U.S. refusal to lift much of crippling international sanctions on North Korea in return for limited denuclearization steps.

North Korea has slammed South Korea for failing to break away from Washington and for not restoring massive joint economic projects held up by U.S.-led sanctions. Inter-Korean relations flourished in 2018, when Kim entered talks on the future of his nuclear weapons.

South Korea had no immediate response to the North Korean announcement. But it has recently said it would push for new legal steps to ban activists from launching leaflets in an attempt to save faltering ties with North Korea. But the North has countered the South Korean response lacks sincerity.

The leafleting has been a long-running source of tensions between the two Koreas. In recent years, North Korean defectors and conservative activists have floated huge balloons carrying leaflets criticizing Kim Jong Un over his nuclear ambitions and abysmal human rights record. The North, which bristles at any outside attempt to undermine the Kim leadership, has often made a furious response to the South Korean government for failing to stop them . In 2014, North Korean troops opened fire at propaganda balloons flying toward their territory, triggering an exchange of fire that caused no known causalities.

South Korea has typically let activists launch such balloons, citing their rights to exercise freedom of speech, but it sometimes sent police officers to stop them from floating leaflets in times of tensions with North Korea.

Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press

North Korea

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Gord Bamford serenades Sylvan Lake at sold out concert

Gord Bamford played for a sold out crowd at a drive-in concert Sept. 19 in Sylvan Lake

UPDATED: Red Deer has nine active COVID-19 cases

Number of cases increased by 107 Friday

“My world exploded,” says Bentley-area farmer who’s swather was struck by a motorist

Dennis Duncan was a mile from home when his swather was struck by another travelling at high speeds

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Wetaskiwin RCMP make arrests for Hit and Run to residence

Damage estimates are expected to be in excess of $20,000.

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

Most Read