Go to Contents Go to Navigation

(2nd LD) N.K. refuses to answer calls from S. Korea after vowing to sever all phone lines

North Korea 09:50 June 09, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS info in para 2-5)
By Koh Byung-joon and Yi Wonju

SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea did not answer South Korea's liaison office phone call Tuesday morning after vowing to cut off all inter-Korean communication lines later in the day in anger over Seoul's failure to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the communist nation.

"The liaison office attempted to call North Korea this morning, but the North did not answer," the unification ministry said Tuesday.

North Korea also did not answer calls via military hotlines, according to the defense ministry.

Earlier in the day, the North said it will sever all communication lines with the South at noon Tuesday, accusing Seoul of turning a blind eye to North Korean defectors sending propaganda leaflets criticizing Pyongyang's leadership.

The North also said it will treat the South as an "enemy."

"The disgusting riff-raff have committed hostile acts against the DPRK by taking advantage of the south Korean authorities' irresponsible stance and with their connivance. They dared to hurt the dignity of our supreme leadership," the Korean Central News Agency said.

"As far as the issue of the dignity of our supreme leadership is concerned, there can neither be a pardon nor an opportunity. They should be forced to pay dearly for this," it said.

The KCNA also said that the North "reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face to face with the South Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay."

"Accordingly, the relevant field of our side will completely cut off and shut down" all communications lines with the South at noon on Tuesday, including the hotline between the North's ruling Workers' Party and the South's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, as well as a liaison line and military communication lines, the KCNA said.

This photo captured from North Korea's Rodong Sinmun on June 6, 2020, shows students at Kimchaek University of Technology criticizing North Korean defectors. In a June 4 statement, Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader's powerful sister and first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, threatened to scrap a military tension reduction agreement with South Korea and completely shut down other major cross-border exchanges unless Seoul takes action against anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent into the communist nation. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

The decisions were made at a meeting attended by Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party Korea (WPK), the KCNA said.

During the meeting, they "stressed that the work towards the South should thoroughly turn into the one against enemy" and discussed "phased plans" for such transition "in order to make the betrayers and riff-raff pay for their crimes."

The KCNA noted that cutting off all communication lines will be "the first step of the determination to completely shut down all contact means with South Korea and get rid of unnecessary things."

The North has been vehemently protesting propaganda leaflets since last week.

On Friday, the North's United Front Department (UFD) handling inter-Korean affairs issued a statement, saying it will abolish the liaison office in the North's border town of Kaesong in the first in a series of measures that the sister of leader Kim Jong-un threatened to take unless Seoul stops the sending of such leaflets.

The leader's sister also warned of dismantling a now-shuttered industrial park in Kaesong and scrapping a military tension reduction agreement signed in 2018, calling for a halt to all hostilities along the border.

North Korea vowed to put those threats into action, even though South Korea promised to take legislative measures to ban such activity. The North derided Seoul's envisioned move as "a little more advanced excuses."

The communication lines that the North vowed to completely cut off were established amid a peaceful atmosphere after South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim held three summits in 2018.

Inter-Korean relations have remained chilly amid stalemated denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington since their no-deal summit in February last year. North Korea has balked at all of South Korea's offers for talks and cooperation.


Send Feedback
How can we improve?
Thanks for your feedback!