South Korea says North blew up liaison office as tensions rise

5 months ago 31
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North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office building on Tuesday just north of the tense Korean border, South Korea has said.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says the destruction of the building at the North Korean border town of Kaesong happened at 2:49pm local time (05:49 GMT) Tuesday.

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Pyongyang has made several threats against Seoul in recent days, and had threatened to destroy the office set up in 2018, if defectors, who are now living in the South, do not stop its activities like sending leaflets to the North.

Some experts also say North Korea is expressing its frustration because South Korea is unable to resume joint economic projects due to US-led sanctions.

Several defector-led groups send leaflets, together with food, one-dollar bills, mini radios and USB sticks containing South Korean dramas and news, over the border and have said they will continue with their planned campaign this week despite the North Korean threats and South Korea saying it will take legal action.

On Saturday, Kim Yo Jong, who serves as a senior official of the ruling Workers' Party and is Kim's sister, said she ordered the military to prepare for unspecified "next action".

South Korea said the defector groups' actions increase cross-border tensions, pose risks to residents living near the border and cause environmental damage. The sending of leaflets across the border was also banned under the 2018 agreement.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in urged Pyongyang on Monday to keep peace agreements reached by the two leaders and return to dialogue.

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