North Korea made a military provocation by blowing up a liaison office between the two Koreas. The South Korean government announced on Tuesday that North Korea blew up the inter-Korean joint liaison office in Kaesong at 2:49 p.m. It had been three days since Kim Yo Jong, the first deputy director of the Workers’ Party, said on Saturday that people will soon witness the collapse of the useless inter-Korean joint liaison office into nothing.
Now, the North went beyond ignoring South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s proposal to have dialogues and began making physical provocations.
The liaison office opened in September 2018 as a symbol of reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas based on the Panmunjom Declaration. The South Korean government put in 33.8 billion won in total, including 17.8 billion won for building and maintaining the office, as well as operating expenses. The explosion of the office by North Korea is not only a breach of the agreement made between the leaders of the two Koreas but also the infringement of property rights of the South Korean companies within the Kaesong Industrial Zone and the South Korean government. The September 19 inter-Korean military agreement, which is the achievement of the summit meeting in 2018, has become completely nullified.
The general staff department of the North Korean military even raised the level of provocations against South Korea on Tuesday by threatening to deploy more troops to the demilitarized zone and disseminate leaflets to the South. The additional deployment is expected to be directed to the Kaesong Industrial Zone, Mount Kumgang tourism area, and guard posts in the demilitarized zone. Once troops that moved to the rear for inter-Korean cooperation projects are redeployed, military confrontations between the two Koreas are unavoidable.
North Korea’s almost self-harming provocations when trade with China has been suspended due to COVID-19 amid international sanctions against the country seem to have an intention to draw the U.S.’ attention. Although the North cited the issue of leaflets disseminated by North Korean defectors, it is just an excuse. While the North wants compensations, such as the lifting of sanctions, from negotiations with the U.S. without giving up its nuclear weapons, the U.S. is insisting on the principle that North Korea should first show its sincere determination to denuclearize. U.S. President Donald Trump has been paying little attention to negotiations with North Korea as the U.S. presidential election is nearing.
Amid the worsening of its economy as if sand moves from top to bottom in an hourglass, the Kim Jong Un regime of North Korea is pushing the South Korean government, which volunteered as an arbitrator, to the brink of a precipice based on the desperation that the regime will be at risk if internal dissatisfaction is not turned outwards. The Jong Un regime has nothing but provocations as the regime is not considering the denuclearization option, which is the only escape from this disastrous situation. If Kim Jong Un shows a faithful willingness for denuclearization even now, not only South Korea but also the U.S. will help the North any time. Kim Jong Un should remember that the end of armed provocations is even more isolation and self-destruction, which will eventually lead to the crisis of the regime.