N. Korea vows to severe all communication lines with S. Korea

Posted on : 2020-06-09 17:10 KST Modified on : 2020-06-09 17:10 KST
Pyongyang says it will approach S. Korea as “the enemy” in further inter-Korean affairs
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee on June 7. (Yonhap News)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee on June 7. (Yonhap News)

North Korea will be severing all lines of communication with South Korea, including the Blue House hotline and the military lines of communication, at noon on June 9, according to a report in the Rodong Sinmun, a state-run newspaper. North Korea also said it will be switching to an adversarial approach in its relations with the South.

These orders were given by Kim Yo-jong, first deputy director of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee, and Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the WPK Central Committee, during a June 8 meeting attended by officials from departments handling affairs with South Korea. Kim Yo-jong and Kim Yong-chol also ordered a step-by-step review of “work against the enemy,” referring to South Korea.

This represents a major crossroads for inter-Korean relations, which have been shaky since the US and North Korea broke off talks in their second summit in Hanoi early last year. North Korea has not responded to any attempts at making contact from South Korean authorities, including calls across military hotlines, since the morning of June 9.

The North Korean government announced the measures both in the Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency in an article titled “KCNA report on cutting off all North-South communication lines.”

The Rodong Sinmun, which represents essential reading for everyone in North Korea, ran the article at the top of page two, announcing more measures to come. It should be noted that, in terms of formality, the article doesn’t carry the gravity of a statement by a state agency.

The KCNA reported that, during the meeting, Kim Yo-jong and Kim Yong-chol “stressed that the work towards the South should thoroughly turn into the one against [the] enemy. They discussed phased plans for the work against the enemy in order to make the betrayers and riff-raff pay for their crimes, and then, to begin with, gave an instruction to completely cut off all the communication and liaison lines between the North and the South.”

“The relevant field of our side will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the North and the South, which has been maintained through the North-South joint liaison office, the East and West Seas communication lines between the militaries of the North and the South, the inter-Korean trial communication line and the hotline between the office building of the Central Committee of the WPK and the Chongwadae [Blue House] from 12:00 [pm] on June 9, 2020,” the KCNA said.

“This measure is the first step of the determination to completely shut down all contact means with South Korea and get rid of unnecessary things,” the KCNA added, while promising additional measures.

By Lee Je-hun, senior staff writer

Please direct comments or questions to [english@hani.co.kr]

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