The situation on the Korean Peninsula took a troubling turn, as North Korea blew up its liaison office with South Korea in a powerful detonation.

The North Korean military launched an attack on the inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Kaesong, shortly after the North warned of an upcoming attack at the building, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News.

Loud explosions were heard in the area and smoke could be seen billowing from the structure, the outlet said.

North Korean officials also stated the rogue nation would redeploy troops to two inter-Korean business zones near the border and reinstall border guard posts removed under a tension reduction deal.

The decision to move troops to the now-shuttered industrial complex in the border city of Kaesong and the Mount Kumgang tourist zone on the east coast are the latest in a series of actions the North has taken against South Korea in anger over anti-Pyongyang leaflets.

The General Staff of the Korean People’s Army also said it will resume “all kinds of regular military exercises” near the inter-Korean border in an apparent move to abolish a tension-reduction military deal the two Koreas signed in 2018.

“Units of the regiment level and necessary firepower sub-units with defense mission will be deployed in the Mount Kumgang tourist area and the Kaesong Industrial Zone where the sovereignty of our Republic is exercised,” a spokesperson of the General Staff said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency.

South Korean officials had worked feverishly to seal the breach with its northern neighbor. Now, they warn of a strong response if the North further worsens the situation.

Cheong Wa Dae made the unusually strong warning after holding an emergency meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) standing committee to discuss the matter.

“The government expresses strong regret over North Korea’s unilateral explosion of the inter-Korean liaison office building,” Kim You-geun, deputy director of Cheong Wa Dae’s national security office, told reporters after the meeting. “We sternly warn that we will strongly respond to it if North Korea takes any action that further worsens the situation.”

Kim also said the demolition constitutes an action that betrays “the expectations of all people who wish for the development of inter-Korean relations and the settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

“We make it clear that the responsibility for anything that could happen because of the act lies entirely with the North Korean side,” he said.

Meanwhile, what have the staffers at the US Embassy in South Korea been focused on? A Black Lives Matter banner.

The U.S. Embassy in Seoul took down a “Black Lives Matter” banner from its mission building Monday, only two days after the banner was unfurled in solidarity with “the fight against racial injustice and police brutality” in the United States.

In a statement sent to The Korea Times Tuesday, an embassy spokeswoman said Ambassador Harry Harris removed the banner to avoid misapprehension that he supports any specific groups leading the protests.

“The ambassador’s intent was not to support or encourage donations to any specific organization,” the spokeswoman said. “To avoid the misperception that American taxpayer dollars were spent to benefit such organizations, he directed that the banner be removed.

“This in no way lessens the principles and ideals expressed by raising the banner, and the embassy will look for other ways to convey fundamental American values in these times of difficulty at home.

 

 
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