North Korea threatens to deploy forces in demilitarized zone
According to TASS and Yonhap news agencies, North Korea has announced plans to deploy its forces to the zones that had been demilitarized under the inter-Korean agreement, the General Staff of the Korean People's Army said in a statement published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday, June 16.
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South Korean sentry near the demilitarized zone (Imjingang) (Picture source: Wikipedia/Johannes Barre, iGEL)
The North Korean People's Army is studying "an action plan for taking measures to make the army advance again into the zones that had been demilitarized under the north-south [Korea] agreement, turn the front line into a fortress and further heighten the military vigilance against the south," the statement said. "Our army is keeping a close watch on the current situation in which the north-south relations are turning worse and worse, and getting itself fully ready for providing a sure military guarantee to any external measures to be taken by the Party and government," it said. "We will map out the military action plans for rapidly carrying out the said opinions to receive approval from the Party Central Military Commission."
Hours after North Korea demolished the inter-Korean liaison office in its border town of Kaesong in a surprise provocation Tuesday, South Korea warned that it will "strongly respond" if the North further worsens the situation. Cheong Wa Dae made the warning after discussing the matter in an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) standing committee. The meeting came after the North blew up the communication office in its border town of Kaesong at 2:49 p.m, established in 2018 as a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation. The North's Korean Central News Agency later confirmed that it "completely ruined" the building.
The explosion took place three days after Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, warned that the North will demolish the "useless" communication office in protest of Seoul's "failure" to stop activists from sending anti-North Korean leaflets into the country.