SEOUL (AFP) – North Korea pulled its staff out of an inter-Korean liaison office yesterday, Seoul said, weeks after leader Kim Jong-un’s summit with United States (US) President Donald Trump ended without agreement.
The office in the Northern city of Kaesong was opened in September last year as the two Koreas knitted closer ties, but the South’s vice unification minister Chun Hae-sung told reporters Pyongyang had “notified the South they are pulling out of the liaison office”.
The decision had been taken “in accordance with an order from an upper command”, he said, adding: “They said they didn’t care whether we stayed at the liaison office or not.”
The South’s President Moon Jae-in was instrumental in brokering the talks process between the nuclear-armed, sanctions-hit North and the US, Seoul’s key security ally.
Moon has long backed engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, and has been pushing the carrot of inter-Korean development projects, among them an industrial zone also in Kaesong and cross-border tourism for Southerners.