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Expert sees North Korea’s demarche as scheme to jumpstart direct dialogue with US

On Tuesday, North Korea blew up its joint liaison office with Seoul in Kaesong, which was opened in September 2018 to help the two Koreas communicate

SEOUL, June 16./TASS/. North Korea’s detonation of the joint liaison office with South Korea is an attempt by the Kim regime to establish a direct dialogue with Washington that was suspended after the failed talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in February 2019, South Korean expert Maeng Ju-seok on North Korea from the Foundation for the Future of the Korean Peninsula told TASS on Tuesday.

"A demonstrative demolition of the office was meant to show Pyongyang’s disappointment with the mediatory mission that South Korea had assumed, and testifies to the North’s bid to directly speak with the US," the expert said.

By destroying this communications center built to maintain contacts with Seoul, Pyongyang "has in fact demonstrated that it is not going to talk to Seoul any longer." "Obviously, the DPRK seeks to attract attention of the US and to begin to directly talk to Washington about the issues of denuclearization and the lifting of the sanctions imposed on it earlier," he elaborated.

However, Maeng Ju-seok believes that this plan "is unlikely to work, because the US leadership is now too engrossed in ironing out other problems, ranging from the protest movement to the presidential election due in autumn". Besides, North Korea’s actions won’t reverse the stance of Washington, which intends to lift the sanctions only after the full and unconditional denuclearization of North Korea.

On Tuesday, North Korea blew up its joint liaison office with Seoul in Kaesong. It was opened in September 2018 to help the two Koreas communicate. Initially, representatives from South Korea and North Korea agreed to meet in Kaesong twice a day, but after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, they switched over to telephone communications.

Earlier, Pyongyang excoriated Seoul for sending propaganda leaflets across the border and pledged to retaliate, going even as far as sending troops to the regions along the demilitarized zone. Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong, first vice director of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, openly warned that the office would be shortly demolished.