North Korea has not responded to the regularly held inter-Korean calls for the third consecutive day, elevating tensions on the peninsula and raising concerns about the stability of the region.
Officials in North Korea were unresponsive to the regular phone communication between the two sides yesterday, Yonhap News reported, after calls through the military line went unanswered on the previous two days.
The two Koreas typically hold phone calls twice a day, including a cross-border liaison channel.
South Korean Ministry of National Defense officials said they reached out to the North through the military hotline at 9am yesterday, but the calls went unanswered, Yonhap said.
The suspension of communication comes amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula following North Korea’s recent weapons tests, which were seen as a response to joint military drills between South Korea and the US.
North Korean state media reported on Saturday that the country staged an underwater detonation test of its “Haeil-2” nuclear-capable attack drone last week.
The drone cruised off North Korea’s east coast for more than 71 hours before its test warhead was detonated underwater, the Korean Central News Agency said.
North Korea’s lack of response could be a precursor to military exercises by the regime. In August 2017, North Korea did not respond to South Korea’s request for talks a few days before it launched a ballistic missile over Japan.
The inter-Korean hotline was restored in July 2021, after being ignored for about a year by the North in protest of leaflets dropped via balloon by South Korean activists, containing criticisms of Pyongyang.
Daily phone call disruptions have not always resulted in tensions. In June last year, North Korea did not respond to a hotline call, apparently due to technical problems caused by heavy rains.
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