South Korea’s main nuclear negotiator will hold discussions with officials in Washington on Thursday amid flaring tensions with North Korea after Pyongyang blew an inter-Korean liaison office and threatened military action.
Lee Do-hoon’s unannounced trip came after North Korea awakened a combined liaison office in Kaesong, near the Korean border and announced an end to dialogue with the South.
Lee is expected to hold consultations with US officials, including Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun who’d headed denuclearisation discussions with North Korea, Seoul’s foreign ministry stated.
Lee and Biegun will”evaluate the present situation on the Korean peninsula and talk answers,” the ministry said in a statement.
Pyongyang has snubbed Seoul’s calls for involvement as attempts to resume inter-Korean financial projects stalled as a result of international sanctions made to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile programs.
Pyongyang has taken issue over defectors from the South sending propaganda leaflets to North Korea.
Several defector-led groups frequently send back flyers carrying crucial messages of Kim Jong Un, frequently together with meals, $1 bills, miniature radios, and USB sticks comprising South Korean dramas and information.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, said the demolition of the liaison office has been the”first phase action” in its own”sacred war” aimed at punishing the Seoul government for turning a blind eye on the defector’s effort.
“It was an iron hammer of stern punishment meted out to people who had been having empty fantasies while pursuing hidden aggressive policy,” it said in a comment.
The paper also ran a collection of posts and photographs carrying mad ordinary citizens calling for retaliation and vowing to deliver anti-South leaflets within the boundary.