North Korea-South Korea Ties Fumble; Has Pyongyang Cut All Ties With Seoul?

North Korea on Monday did not answer first of the twice-a-day liaison phone calls from South Korea, sparking fear in Seoul that Pyongyang might be carrying out its threat to abolish a joint liaison office.

Monday’s liaison phone calls were a focus of attention as the two sides were to have such calls for the first time since North Korea vowed to scrap the joint liaison office in anger over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets sent by defectors and activists in South Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to the agency, many had feared that a lack of response would suggest that Pyongyang is putting the threat into action. But Pyongyang answered the second call, officials said.

“Calls between the two Koreas at the liaison office in the afternoon proceeded as usual. North Korea did not mention anything about (its unresponsiveness) in the morning,” South Korea’s unification ministry said in a statement.

Last Thursday, Kim Yo-jong, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un’s sister issued a statement threatening to close the liaison office unless Seoul stops defector groups from sending leaflets into the North.

North Korean defectors and anti-Pyongyang activists have occasionally sent balloons carrying leaflets sharply criticising the communist regime and its leader. The balloons are often flown with one-dollar bills and USB memory sticks to get more North Koreans to pick up the leaflets.

Asian News International