North Korea has cut off all communication lines with South Korea including the Inter-Korean Liaison Office, military hotlines in the East and the West sea, communication test facilities and hotlines between the two heads of state on Tuesday. According to North Korea’s Chosun Central News Agency, Worker’s Party of Korea Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol and Propaganda and Agitation Department’s First Deputy Director Kim Yo Jong discussed a phased plan to convert all businesses with South Korea into “enemy businesses” and instructed to cut off all communications as the first step. Regarding this, the South Korean Ministry of Unification said the communications lines should be maintained based on the inter-Korean agreement.
North Korea said the direct target was hostile activities of scummy enemies against the country, which refers to activities of North Korean defectors against the country such as leaflet drops. It added that the issue can never be tolerated and betrayers must pay for what they have done,” referring to North Korean defectors. The North also showed its intention to make South Korea an enemy any time for hostile activities against its leader Kim Jong Un and treacherous responses of the South Korean government.
As always, North Korea upheld a cause to provoke the South further while suggesting an excuse to change its attitude as if nothing happened. It could commit a terrorist act on North Korean defectors such as lawmaker Thae Yong-ho or carry out military provocation in border areas. Or this could be a step for bigger provocation to draw reaction from the U.S. by elevating tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The South Korean government should meticulously review military readiness posture and find measures to protect North Korean defectors.
Meanwhile, North Korea seems to be waiting for South Korea’s response. The South has assumed a low posture and even showed an intention to legally ban leaflet drops to the North, but North Korea is taking a firm stance. It has cut and restored communication with the Inter-Korean Liaison Office and delayed the cutoff to Tuesday noon, which hints at its anticipation to receive a definite statement from President Moon Jae-in.
The goal of the South Korean government is to bring out change in North Korea and create peace on the Korean Peninsula. The two Koreas repeatedly had extreme crises and reconciliation in which Kim Jong Un sought to change his image as a leader. But now we are witnessing a rogue state that lives off threats and provocations and the true nature of Kim who put his sister at the forefront of loyalty competition and external provocations. It is time to soberly review the past three years.