South Korean Unification Minister has offered his resignation over the sharp increase in tensions with North Korea. His resignation comes a day after North Korea blew up a symbolic liaison office near the border which was built to improve ties with the South.
While on the other hand, the North Korean army has said it will send troops into disarmed areas along the border.
The destruction of the joint liaison office follows a recent deterioration in relations between Pyongyang and Seoul and occurred just hours after Pyongyang threatened to engage in military action at the border with South Korea.
The tension between the two countries has increased rapidly since the past week as Pyongyang objected to activists and defectors in South Korea sending anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets, rice and Bibles using balloons across the border into North Korean territory, and had cut off communication with Seoul.
According to experts, these moves come after North Korea’s frustrations at South Korea’s inability to revive inter-Korean economic projects that had been beneficial to Pyongyang, under pressure from the US, along with UN sanctions.
A North Korean state media article accused South Korea of breaking 2018 agreements and behaving like a “mongrel dog” – while the sister of Kim Jong-un accused the president of South Korea of being a US “flunkey”.
South Korea says it remains open for talks but has condemned the North’s actions as senseless and damaging. The South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office warned Seoul would no longer accept unreasonable behavior by the North.
“It is our basic stance that the 19 September military agreement should be complied with without fail to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and to prevent accidental clashes,” The South’s defense ministry says. However, it warned, that any military action by the North was being closely monitored, with a “strong response” to any military provocation.
The South also offered to send special envoys to diffuse the current tension, yet the North was quick to reject the idea.