It is redeploying troops and reinstalling guard posts.
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Wednesday it will redeploy troops to now-shuttered inter-Korean cooperation sites, reinstall guard posts and resume military exercises at front-line areas, nullifying the tension-reducing deals reached with South Korea just two years ago.
The announcement is the latest in a series of hard-line steps North Korea has taken in what experts believe are calculated moves to apply pressure on Seoul and Washington amid stalled nuclear diplomacy. On Tuesday, the North destroyed an empty inter-Korean liaison office in its territory.
Though North Korea’s recent actions haven’t caused clashes or bloodshed, it’s still raising animosity on the peninsula to a level unseen since the North entered nuclear talks in 2018.
The North’s General Staff said military units will be deployed to the Diamond Mountain resort and the Kaesong industrial complex, both just north of the heavily fortified border. The sites, both built with South Korean financing during a past era of reconciliation, have been shuttered for years due to inter-Korean disputes and U.S.-led sanctions imposed on North Korea because of its nuclear program.
The North said it will resume military exercises, reestablish guard posts, boost military readiness in border areas and open front-line sites for flying propaganda balloons toward South Korea. These steps would end the September 2018 agreements reached between the Koreas aimed at lowering military tensions at border areas.
Later Wednesday, South Korea’s military expressed regret over the North Korean announcement and warned that the North will face unspecified consequences if it violates the 2018 deals.
Maj. Gen. Jeon Dong Jin at the Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters that South Korea maintains a firm military readiness and will strive to prevent military tensions from rising.
Under the 2018 agreements, both Koreas halted live-firing exercises, removed some land mines and destroyed guard posts inside the world’s most heavily armed border. Some outside experts have said these moves undermined South Korea’s security more as the North’s nuclear weapons arsenal remain intact.
Some analysts predicted North Korea would resort to provocation to wrest outside concessions because its economy has likely worsened under the persistent U.S.-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic. North Korea may also be frustrated because the sanctions prevent Seoul from breaking away from Washington to resume joint economic projects with Pyongyang.
Source: Politics, Policy, Political News Top Stories https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/17/north-korea-raises-pressure-on-south-korea-325280