North Korea Removing Loudspeakers From Border With South

Clay Curtis
July 3, 2020

An escalation of tension that began when the North raised tensions by demolishing the two countries' joint liaison office on its side of the border eased on Wednesday after Kim suspended plans for military moves aimed at the South.

Hours after North Korea's announcement, military officials said the North was removing some of the propaganda loudspeakers it installed earlier this week along the inter-Korean border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has often visited there on memorial days.

Kim held a preliminary meeting of the ruling party's Central Military Commission on Tuesday and made a decision to call off military action plans that North Korea had taken against South Korea in anger over the sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the communist nation.

South Korea issued a joint statement with the United States, which fought alongside it during the 1950-53 war triggered by a surprise North Korean invasion. The Korean People's Army had said it would resume military exercises and reestablish guard posts in the border areas where troops had previously been withdrawn as part of tension-reducing agreement with South Korea.

It is not clear exactly what steps Kim suspended and whether that means North Korea will now end its escalating campaign of provocations toward the South.

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There had been threats by the North to send troops into the demilitarised zone (DMZ) at the intra-Korean border.

American soldiers in action against North Korean invaders somewhere in Korea in July 1950. The United Nations, condemning the North Korean invasion, called on members to send forces to repel the attack and restore worldwide security. The inter-Korean liaison office was built the same year.

Photo provided by the North Korean government of Kim Jong Un. Multiple statements, some signed by Kim Yo-jong, called the activists "human scum" and "disgusting riff-raff", demanding Seoul act to stop them from informing North Koreans.

Experts say North Korea is likely using the South Korean civilian leafleting as a chance to boost its internal unity and apply more pressures on Seoul and Washington amid stalled nuclear diplomacy. There should be no doubt that such responses will include measures to strengthen joint military exercises between South Korea and the USA and bring USA strategic assets back here.

One group, led by Park Sang-hak, who fled the isolated state in 2000, said on Tuesday it flew 20 balloons containing 500,000 leaflets, 500 booklets on South Korea and 2,000 $1 bills. North Korea's economy faces fresh hardships because of borders being shut because of the coronavirus pandemic.

South Korea and the United States on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to defending "the hard-fought peace" on the divided peninsula as the allies marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War.

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