North Korea 'blows up joint liaison office' with South as tensions rise

16 June 2020, 09:05

Thick smoke going up from the inter-Korean industrial complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong
Thick smoke going up from the inter-Korean industrial complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

North Korea has blown up an inter-Korean liaison office just north of the border according to South Korean officials as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula.

The move comes just hours after North Korea renewed threats of military action against the South with Kim Jong Un's country slashing all communication with it's southern neighbour.

The office building was opened two years ago as part of a move to help the two countries communicate with some another.

The liaison office has been empty since January due to coronavirus restrictions.

Tensions between the two Koreas have been rising for weeks as defector groups in the south send propaganda north of the border. Defector groups regularly send helium-filled balloons with leaflets and other items, including USB sticks, into the north.

Kim Yo-jong the sister of the North Korean leader threatened to demolish the office in a "tragic scene" in a statement at the weekend.

On Saturday night, Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of Kim Jong Un, warned that Seoul will soon witness "a tragic scene of the useless North-South liaison office (in North Korea) being completely collapsed".

She also said North Korea's military would have the right to take the next step of retaliation against the South.

This file photo, taken in September 2018, shows the inter-Korean joint liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong
This file photo, taken in September 2018, shows the inter-Korean joint liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. Picture: PA

Seoul's unification ministry said the building in the North Korean border town of Kaesong was destroyed at 2.49pm local time (6.49am BST).

Photos from Yonhap News Agency showed smoke rising from what appears to be a complex of buildings.

The agency said the area was part of a now-closed industrial park where the liaison office was located.

Some experts say North Korea is expressing its frustration because Seoul is unable to resume joint economic projects due to US-led sanctions.

In 2018, the rival Koreas opened their first liaison office at Kaesong to facilitate better communication and exchanges since their division at the end of the Second World War in 1945.

When the office opened, relations between the Koreas flourished after North Korea entered talks on its nuclear weapons programme.

Earlier on Tuesday, North Korea's military threatened to move back into zones that were demilitarized under inter-Korean peace agreements.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Virus Outbreak North Korea

Kim Jong Un ‘suffered fever’ during North Korea’s Covid wave, says his sister

Russia Ukraine War

Satellite images show Crimea airbase damaged after apparent Ukrainian attack

The Spanish government has limited air conditioning and heating

Spain cracks down on air conditioning and heating in bid to save energy

Former US national security adviser John Bolton

Iranian operative charged in plot to murder Trump security adviser John Bolton

A resident sits on the sea wall as smoke rises in the background from a deadly fire at a large oil storage facility in Matanzas, Cuba

Firefighters subdue deadly blaze at key oil facility in Cuba

Rising smoke can be seen from the beach at Saky after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea

Ukraine says nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in Crimea blasts

The river Rhine is pictured with low water in Cologne, Germany

Fears mount that water levels in Rhine river could fall below critical mark

Former US president Donald Trump gestures as he departs Trump Tower on Wednesday August 10 2022 in New York

Donald Trump says he took the fifth amendment in New York investigation

Former US president Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower, late on Tuesday August 9 2022, in New York

Donald Trump arrives to give evidence in New York investigation

Taiwan’s military conducts artillery live-fire drills at Fangshan township in Pingtung, southern Taiwan, Tuesday, August 9, 2022

China appears to wind down threatening war games near Taiwan

People line up to enter an H&M shop and buy items on sale in the Aviapark shopping centre in Moscow, Russia, on Tuesday August 9 2022

Russians buy last goods from H&M and Ikea as stores wind down

Tom Daley blames 'legacy of colonialism' for homophobia in the Commonwealth

Tom Daley blames British Empire's legacy of colonialism' for homophobic laws in Commonwealth nations

France Whale in Seine

Beluga whale stranded in French river dies, authorities say

French police shoot dead knifeman in Charles de Gaulle airport

Knifeman shot dead by police in packed terminal at Paris's biggest airport

Russia Ukraine

Large explosions rock Russian air base in Crimea

Chinese officials shared images from social media site Weibo of the Chinese military drills.

China's new invasion threat as it warns it is 'ready to use all necessary measures' to retake Taiwan