North Korea vows to send troops to border areas

North Korea on Wednesday vowed to redeploy troops to front-line areas to resume military exercises and reinstall guard posts as tensions with South Korea continue to escalate. 

The country’s military units will be deployed to the Diamond Mountain resort and the Kaesong industrial complex just north of the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), The Associated Press and Reuters reported.

The North will also open sites for flying propaganda balloons toward South Korea. The move is a direct response to defectors from North Korea reportedly sending propaganda leaflets with anti-Pyongyang sentiments back across the border by balloon or by sea. 

The announcement comes just one day after North Korea blew up a joint liaison office set up along the border as part of a 2018 peace agreement. 

North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) said that destruction of the building was a “reflection of the zeal of our enraged people to punish human scum who challenged the noblest dignity and prestige of our country and those who sheltered the scum, perpetrators of shuddering crime.” 

South Korea had offered to send special envoys to North Korea to ease tensions but the effort was rejected by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s government, Reuters reported.

“The solution to the present crisis between the North and the South caused by the incompetence and irresponsibility of the South Korean authorities is impossible and it can be terminated only when proper price is paid,” KCNA stated. 

South Korea warned that North Korea will face consequences if it violates a 2018 deal that halted live-firing exercises, removed some land mines and destroyed guard posts along the DMZ.

The escalation also comes as denuclearization talks with the United States remain stalled since last year.

North Korean leaders said last week that they see little reason to maintain ties with President Trump two years after the leaders’ first summit in Singapore. 

“Never again will we provide the U.S. chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns,” Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said. “Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise.”

Tags DMZ Donald Trump Kim Jong Un Kim Jong Un Korean Central News Agency Korean Demilitarized Zone North Korea North Korea South Korea South Korea

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