North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has suspended plans for military action against South Korea, the North’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported yesterday, in an apparent sudden dialing down of tensions after Pyongyang blew up a liaison office.
Pyongyang this month has issued a series of vitriolic condemnations of Seoul over anti-North Korea leaflets, which defectors based in South Korea send across the border — usually attached to balloons or floated in bottles.
North Korea last week blew up a liaison office on its side of the border that symbolized inter-Korean rapprochement, while its military said that it would take multiple measures against Seoul.
The moves included re-entering areas of North Korea that it had withdrawn from as part of inter-Korean projects, restoring guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone that forms the border and stepping up exercises.
However, KCNA on Tuesday said that Kim presided over a Central Military Commission preliminary meeting that “suspended the military action plans against the South.”
North Korea yesterday began removing loudspeakers from border areas, which it had started setting up just two days earlier to broadcast anti-South Korea propaganda, the South’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing unnamed sources.
In addition, Pyongyang’s propaganda outlets deleted online articles critical of Seoul, said the South Korean Ministry of Unification, which handles relations with North Korea.
The apparently conciliatory moves by Pyongyang are unusual and come after analysts said it was seeking to manufacture a crisis on the Korean Peninsula in an effort to extract concessions.
The unification ministry said that it was “closely” and “carefully” reviewing the KCNA report, which said the meeting took place via videoconference — something it said it believed was a first.
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