North Korea threatens to redeploy troops to border with South

North Korea rejects South Korea’s offer to send special envoys, vows to redeploy troops to demilitarized border units.

Ben Ariel ,

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
Reuters

North Korea said on Wednesday (local time) it had rejected South Korea’s offer to send special envoys to ease escalating bilateral tensions, and vowed to redeploy troops to demilitarized border units in the latest step towards nullifying inter-Korean peace accords.

The announcements made by state media agency KCNA and quoted by Reuters came one day after North Korea blew up a joint liaison office set up in a border town as part of a 2018 agreement by the two countries’ leaders, as tensions flare over propaganda leaflets sent by defectors into the reclusive state.

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Monday offered to send his national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and spy chief Suh Hoon as special envoys. But Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a senior ruling party official, “flatly rejected the tactless and sinister proposal,” KCNA said.

Moon “greatly favors sending special envoys for ‘tiding over crises’ and raises preposterous proposals frequently, but he has to clearly understand that such a trick will no longer work on us,” KCNA said.

“The solution to the present crisis between the North and the South caused by the incompetence and irresponsibility of the South Korean authorities is impossible and it can be terminated only when proper price is paid.”

There was no immediate comment from Moon’s office.

Earlier this week, Kim's influential younger sister Chung Eui-yong, recently appointed to one of the leading roles in the government, threatened to annihilate South Korea.

That threat came days after North Korea cut military and political communication links to South Korea, which it described as an “enemy”.

Pyongyang largely cut off contact with Seoul following the collapse of a summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi last year that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

Since those talks broke down, North Korea has conducted several tests of ballistic missiles.

Pyongyang set a unilateral end-2019 deadline for Washington to offer fresh concessions. In his New Year’s message after his ultimatum to the US expired, the North Korean leader said his country would continue developing nuclear programs unless the US gave up its hostile approach.



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