Conflicts & War

Seoul toughens tone against Pyongyang, condemns criticism of Moon

Update 1: Adds South Korean response

Seoul, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- Seoul on Wednesday toughened its stance against Pyongyang and condemned the statements released by North Korea in which it criticized the South Korean president, rejected dialog proposal and reiterated its plans of redeploying troops at the border.

Spokesperson of the presidential office, Yoon Do-han strongly condemned the statement by Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a press conference.

The two statements were released by North Korean state agency KCNA on Wednesday, only a day after Pyongyand destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office on its territory.

In the two statements, Kim Yo-jong made Seoul’s offer to send envoys to the North for dialog public and rejected it. She further described a speech delivered Moon Jae in on Monday as “disgusting”.

“It is a senseless act to disparage (Moon’s speech earlier this week) in a very rude tone without understanding its purpose at all,” Yonhap news agency cited Yoon.

He further criticized the lack of basic etiquette on North Korea’s part after the latter made the South Korean proposal public.

“We won’t tolerate any more of North Korea’s indiscreet rhetoric and act,” Yoon said.

He further added that such act harm, “mutual trust between the leaders of the two sides.”

North Korea on Wednesday publicly rejected the South’s offer for talks and announced that it will send troops to border areas that had been demilitarized following an agreement between the two neighboring nations in 2018.

In a statement issued by state-run agency KCNA just a day after Pyongyang destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office on its territory, Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, said the regime rejects the South’s offer to send envoys to the North for dialog.

“Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, made known the stand that we flatly reject the tactless and sinister proposal,” the agency reported.

In another comment also published by KCNA, Kim himself described as “disgusting” a speech delivered on Monday by South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit, in which he urged the North not to backtrack on efforts to ease relations between the two countries.

Kim believed that the address did not include an apology for the sending of anti-regime leaflets in balloons over the border by activists in the South, the reason Pyongyang claims to have decided to re-adopt a belligerent attitude toward Seoul.

Kim’s remarks as well as plans to remilitarize its border with the South, which the General Staff of the (North) Korean People’s Army (KPA) also communicated in a separate statement through KCNA, underscore Pyongyang’s intention not to defuse tensions.

The KPA General Staff confirmed on Wednesday that it will send troops to the southwestern city of Kaesong and the southeastern Mt Kumgang, both of which are located near the border separating the two countries.

Both areas, symbols of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, were demilitarized as part of an agreement signed by the two Koreas at a summit between Moon and Kim in Pyongyang in September 2018.

North Korea also said it will re-install guard posts that had been withdrawn from the Demilitarized Zone separating the two sides and resume military exercises near the inter-Korean border.

Analysts believe that the North Korean regime is using the leaflets from the South to ramp up pressure on the United States and South Korea, a strategy it has adopted in the past year following the failure of the Hanoi denuclearization summit, in which Washington considered the Pyongyang’s disarmament proposal insufficient. EFE-EPA

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