N. Korea withdraws from joint liaison office with South

TOKYO, North Korea withdrew its officials from a joint liaison office with South Korea on Friday, official media reported.

The North notified the South during a liaison officers’ meeting earlier in the day that it would pull out of the office, in accordance with a directive from the higher-ups, and all North Korean officials left the office, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said in a statement, according to Yonhap News Agency.

The North said it would not care about whether South Korean officials remain or withdraw from the office, which is located in the country’s border city of Kaesong.

The ministry also said that some 25 South Korean officials will staff the office over the weekend, hoping the office will continue normal operations.

The office opened in September last year to facilitate inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation in accordance with an agreement that President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached at their first summit in April last year.

Relations between the South and the North made significant strides last year, with Moon and Kim holding three summits, but the reconciliation process reached a deadlock as the denuclearization negotiations between the North and the US made little progress.

Prospects of cross-border projects dimmed further after the summit on Feb. 27 and 28 between the North’s Kim and US President Donald Trump ended without an agreement due to differences over how to match denuclearization measures and sanctions relief, the report added.

Source: Kuwait News Agency