Seoul Announces North Korea’s Dissolution of Civilian Exchange Organizations with South Korea

SEOUL — In a significant move, North Korea has declared its intention to disband various organizations responsible for civilian-level exchanges with South Korea. This decision, as reported by state media on Saturday, marks a further escalation in the tense relations between the two Koreas.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, the decision to dissolve these organizations was taken during a meeting on Friday. This meeting, which involved officials responsible for handling affairs with perceived enemies, aimed to actualize the policy shift towards South Korea. This change in stance was previously directed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a major Workers' Party meeting last month.

The KCNA listed several organizations that will undergo readjustment, including the North Side Committee for Implementing June 15 Joint Declaration, the North Headquarters of the Pan-national Alliance for Korea's Reunification, the Consultative Council for National Reconciliation, and the Council for the Reunification of Tangun's Nation.

Further emphasizing the hardened position, the meeting denounced the "South Korean puppets" for allegedly seeking the collapse of North Korea's regime and absorption-based unification. They were labeled as the "main enemy of the DPRK to be completely wiped out." DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name.

This latest development follows a period of increased provocations from North Korea. At a year-end party meeting, leader Kim Jong-un described inter-Korean ties as relations between two hostile states and called for intensified preparations to "suppress the whole territory of South Korea."

During the eighth Central Committee's ninth plenary meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea, Kim Jong-un advocated for a "fundamental change in dealing with South Korea," including the restructuring of organizations handling inter-Korean affairs. Early this month, discussions led by North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui focused on dismantling the United Front Department (UFD), which oversees relations with South Korea.

Tensions between South and North Korea have been on the rise, with a significant increase last week. Pyongyang conducted live-fire drills, firing around 350 artillery shells into waters off its west coast between January 5 and 7. This marked the first such military activity near the sea border since December 2022.

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