Seoul, Jun 24 (efe-epa).- North Korea has decided to suspend plans to take military action along the inter-Korean border during a meeting of the military leadership of the regime, led by Kim Jong-un, Pyongyang’s media reported Wednesday.
With this decision, taken at a preliminary meeting of the Central Military Commission of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, Pyongyang is backing down from the threats it made last week to re-deploy troops at the demilitarized border between the two Koreas and “resume all kinds of regular military exercises in the areas close to the boundary.”
The Commission “took stock of the prevailing situation and suspended the military action plans against the South,” North Korean state-run agency KCNA said.
The meeting, which took place on Tuesday evening, was chaired by Kim, who is chairman of both the Workers’ Party as well as the Central Military Commission, and served as preparation for the fifth meeting of that body, to be held on an undetermined date.
The decision, announced on Wednesday, marks a new and surprising turn in the escalation of tensions on the peninsula which, according to Pyongyang, have been triggered by the sending of anti-regime propaganda leaflets across the border by activists in the South.
In retaliation, the regime destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office on June 15 and then rejected any dialog with the South. It also announced that it would re-militarize border guard posts that had remained vacant under the pact signed by Seoul and Pyongyang in 2018 to further ease bilateral ties.
Pyongyang has also announced that it is planning to send 12 million propaganda leaflets to South Korea as “retaliatory punishment” following similar actions carried out by activists in the South.
Although these leaflets violate the bilateral pact of 2018, analysts believe that the regime has made the propaganda balloons an excuse to harden a strategy of pressure, which originated in the failed denuclearization summit between Pyongyang and Washington in Hanoi in February 2019.
After a year of intense diplomatic rapprochement, in the Vietnamese capital, the United States considered the North Korean disarmament plan insufficient and refused to lift sanctions.
Since then, and with negotiations stalled, Pyongyang has progressively hardened its tone with Washington and Seoul in an apparent attempt to force the restart of dialog for a relaxation of the sanctions that suffocate its economy, also affected this year by the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic. EFE-EPA