Seoul accepts Unification minister’s resignation amid tension with North

Seoul, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- South Korean President Moon Jae-in accepted the resignation of the until now Unification Minister, Kim Yeon-chul, who made his position available to the Government this week as a result of the upsurge of tensions between the two Koreas.

The decision, announced at a press conference by presidential spokesman Kang Min-seok, comes two days after Kim proposed resigning amid deteriorating relations between Seoul and Pyongyang, who are experiencing their worst moment in more than two years.

Kang has yet to reveal any plans regarding Kim’s successor for the post at the head of the Unification Ministry, which is responsible for relations with the Pyongyang regime.

Kim, an academic who had also directed a major center for strategic studies on North Korea, came to the post in April 2019 with the aim of boosting relations after the failed Hanoi summit.

However, given the impossibility of resuming inter-Korean economic cooperation projects as a result of the blockade that said summit in February of that year, Kim could do rather little given that Pyongyang was progressively betting on hardening the tone with Seoul and Washington.

Last week North Korea increased the harshness of its speech, accusing the Moon government of allowing activists from South Korea to send balloons with anti-regime propaganda, something that technically violates a pact to lower the military tension signed by both countries in 2018.

Although Seoul denounced these groups and activated police blockades to prevent these actions from being repeated, Pyongyang insisted on their accusations and this week detonated the inter-Korean liaison office, located in its territory and inaugurated in 2018, and assured that it will break the military pact by forwarding troops to the border.

Analysts believe the North Korean regime has found in these balloon shipments an excuse to toughen up a pressure strategy that originates from the Hanoi fiasco, where it failed to lift sanctions. EFE-EPA


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