North Korea snubs Seoul calls for third day

Seoul, Aug 12 (EFE).- North Korea snubbed calls Thursday from South Korea for the third consecutive day, a sign of its discomfort with Seoul and Washington’s decision to continue with their summer military exercises.

Pyongyang left the calls made through the inter-Korean liaison lines unanswered for the third day, a Unification and Defense Ministry spokesman told Efe.

The spokesman added that so far no “unusual movements” have been observed by the North Korean military.

Pyongyang stopped responding to calls from Seoul on Tuesday, just two weeks after the two countries resumed telematic communications at the request of the regime.

The North Korean side stopped answering the phone on the same day that the South Korean and American armies began training prior to the annual summer maneuvers, which begin Monday and consist of a computer simulation.

Senior regime officials, including Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, harshly criticized these activities, which Pyongyang considers a trial to invade their territory and a betrayal on Seoul’s part for not to canceling them.

The reason the allies have decided to continue with the maneuvers – suspended in 2018 to facilitate rapprochement – is unknown after Pyongyang began talks with Seoul after 13 months of silence, something that gave hope to advance the denuclearization dialogue.

Some experts believe Seoul would be opting for greater caution before bowing to the wishes of the regime, which last year unilaterally decided to stop using cross-border lines of communication and destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office, located on its territory but built with funds from the South.

The decision was in protest of the sending of anti-regime propaganda balloons by activists from the South, an activity Seoul now prohibits after passing a controversial law that, according to its detractors, violates freedom of expression. EFE


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