06/06/2020, 10.25
KOREA
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Pyongyang threatens closure of Liaison Office with South over defamatory flyers

The United Front will follow up on orders from Kim Yo-jong, sister of the North Korean leader. A military pact and the common industrial area of ​​Kaesong are also at risk. Seoul promises to ban the launch of flyers, to which dollar bills and USB sticks are attached.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - North Korea yesterday promised to abolish the Inter-Korean Liaison Office in retaliation for the launch of defamatory flyers from the South, transported with balloons, into its territory.

The announcement carried by KNA state agency, was made by the United Front of the Workers' Party, which has ruled the country since the end of the Second World War.

On June 4, Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, had threatened to close the Office. It was created in 2018 in Kaesong - on the western border with the South - to ensure better communication between the two sides.

The North Korean city is also home to the inter-Korean industrial complex, closed in 2016 after a missile test carried out by Pyongyang. Kim Yo-jong said the complex could be permanently dismantled if propaganda from South Korea does not end. A pact aimed at reducing military tension with Seoul is also at risk.

In its statement, the United Front remarked on Kim Yo-jong's primary role in the management of inter-Korean affairs, a sign of her growing importance in the dynamics of power in the North. Between April and May, when rumors circulated about the possible death or serious illness of Kim Jong-un, she was referred to by many observers as a viable candidate to succeed her brother.

Immediately after Kim Yo-jong’s statement, the South Korean government called for an end to the launch of flyers and spoke of a specific legislative ban.  Seoul leaders maintain these propaganda campaigns only damage relations with Pyongyang, and endanger the lives of those who collect leaflets across the border.

In spite of this, North Korean dissidents sheltered in the South continue to fly thousands of leaflets attacking Kim Jong-un and his regime over the military dividing line between the two countries. To encourage North Koreans to collect them, dollar bills and USB sticks are attached to the pamphlets.

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