South Korea unification minister offers to resign over tensions with North

South Korea – The South Korean unification minister has offered to resign over the sharp rise in tensions with the North.

Kim Yeon-chul said he tools responsibility for the worsening of inter-Korean relations.

This comes a day after North Korea blew up a symbolic liaison office near the border which was built to improve ties with the South. The North Korean army has said it will send troops into disarmed areas along the border.

While the South says it remains open for talks, it has condemned the actions of the North, calling it senseless and damaging. Tensions have certainly escalated in recent weeks – partly prompted by defectors in the South sending propaganda over the border.

Through state media, North Korea accused the South of “systematically breaching and destroying” recent 2018 agreements, including the Panmunjon Declaration.

It also compared the South’s defence ministry to a “feared mongrel dog” that was “bragging and bluffing, rattling the dialogue partner and stocking [a] confrontational atmosphere”.

It closed with a warning that Tuesday’s explosion could “a prelude to the total catastrophe of the North-South relations”.

On Wednesday, the South’s President Moon said the North’s conduct was senseless – and warned Seoul would no longer accept unreasonable behaviour by the North.

Despite the explosion of the liaison office, the South says it hopes an agreement from 2018 in Pyongyang can be honoured.

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