North Korea is no longer talking to the South. Experts say it is trying to produce a crisis

North Korean state media, the military-military telephone, and its leader, Kim Jong Un, said a series of lines used to directly connect South Korean President Moon Jae-in will be closed as soon as possible. These lines were considered important as they could help prevent an accidental military conflict caused by misinterpreting or miscalculating the action or intent of the other party.

South Korean Department of Defense spokesman Choi Hyun-soo said North Korea has not answered phone calls to a telephone line for the first time on Tuesday morning since it was founded in 2018. What North Korea said was shuttered on Friday remained unanswered.

“The lines of communication between Korea should be pursued according to the agreement, because this is the main means of communication,” the South Korean government said of the Union Ministry, which deals with everything in North Korea. Said.

“The government will continue to work for the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula, adhering to the agreement between Korea.”

Pyongyang said that he gave Seoul a cold shoulder because the North Korean defectors in South Korea probably blew balloons carrying brochures and SD cards into their old homes, along with information about the outside world. For the average North Koreans, it is illegal to consume information that has not been approved by the country’s powerful propaganda machine, and doing so can have dire consequences.

Experts believe that the Kim regime is able to use the topic of leaflets to produce a crisis – a tactic that is often used in North Korea’s international relations playbook to create a sense of urgency in novice talks.

Pyongyang claimed that the balloons sent by a private group violated the agreement reached at the summit of April 2018, and both sides shared the “limit to stop all the hostile actions, and eliminate their tools, including broadcasting from the speakers and distributing brochures”. Many of the lines of communication that were closed on Tuesday were set up or re-established as part of the same agreement.

“We will never trade the dignity of our top leaders for nothing, but we will defend it at the expense of our lives,” the government-run KCNA daily in North Korea said in a statement Tuesday. “There’s no need to sit face to face with South Korean officials, and there’s no need to argue with them just because they awaken our horror.”

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The statement said Tuesday’s move was “the first step in determination to completely shut down all communication tools with South Korea and get rid of unnecessary things.”

Kim Jong Un’s sister and one of the country’s most powerful officials, Kim Yo Jong, seemed to have played an important role in North Korea’s decision to cut off the South.

Kim Yong Chol, who served as his counterpart to US and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s talks with the United States, was commemorated by name in Tuesday’s announcement. KCNA also carried a piece by Kim Yo Jong, referring to the defect as “hybrid dogs” on Friday, threatening South Korea, saying “it’s time to take into account its owners.”

For non-governmental organization Özgür North Korea, which claims to have sent the balloons, the warriors said they sent 500,000 brochures, $ 2,000 1 invoice and 1,000 SD cards from the border. The group did not say what was on their memory card, but in the past it included South Korean and Western movies and television shows.

The group posted on the website a picture showing a series of balloons carrying a poster decorated with the caricature of Kim Jong Un and several balloons containing: “How good are nuclear rockets, chemical biological weapons and political prisoner camps when people are starving?” Kim Jong Un Let’s finish hereditary dictatorship! “

Park Sang-hak, the head of the Warriors for the free North Korean group, is a well-known defender. In 2012, North Korean agents attempted to assassinate him with a pen-shaped poison needle.

A political attitude

The Kim family is treated with almost god-like respect in the North Korean state media, and insulting any of them can be severe punishment. However, the decision to increase hostilities may be a political way to initiate inter-Korean negotiations, which have been stuck essentially neutral for months.

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“Inter-Korean communications were actually dead and dysfunctional, but Pyongyang lines are trying to make a much bigger deal than they were cut,” said Duyeon Kim, a senior advisor to the International Crisis Group specializing in Northeast Asian affairs. nuclear policy.

According to the Ministry of Merger, the first inter-Korean helpline was established in 1971. Since then, North Korea has broken communication between Korea at least five times.

Duyeon Kim said, “This is not ideal, but we are used to the periods of the two Korea-broken dialogue channels.” Said.

Negotiations to achieve some of the key goals set for the April 2018 summit, including the end of the Korean War and the reconstruction of inter-Korean economic projects, have so far not progressed.

A key point has been the sanctions imposed on the North Korea by the United Nations Security Council and the United States. Pyongyang desperately needs hard money, but sanctions prevent the country from selling many valuable things or participating in profitable joint projects with the South.

Andrei Lankov, an expert in North Korean affairs at Kookmin University in Seoul, said that Moon is unlikely to do anything that violates the US, South Korea’s ally agreement, or sanctions for President Donald Trump. it is clear that for long-standing alliances, he does not want to pay the same price as his predecessors.

North Korea is trying to squeeze South Korea into the corner while still keeping the US in the Gulf, hoping that the sense of urgency in Seoul will force the Moon to cooperate in Kim Jong Un’s terms.

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Lankov, North Koreans “They do not want the Ay Jae-in government to feel comfortable. They want to create a moderate crisis, a controlled crisis.” Said. “North Korea needs a crisis in relations with South Korea, but in a type that will not be drawn directly in the United States.

The problem, however, is that Moon has reached a political peak after performing better than expected in the legislative elections earlier this year. And their founders don’t particularly care about the bullish cycle with North Korea – it’s something the South Koreans used to. In South Korea, where the economy and the new coronavirus pandemic are the most pressing concerns of the day, interrupting communications will not be a major issue.

Lankov said that North Korea’s efforts to create a sense of crisis in South Korea were “considerably unsuccessful”.

“However, this is not necessarily a good sign,” he said. “Lack of response probably means that North Korea is starting to increase its volume and increase the intensity of provocation.”

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