The South Korean government indicated Monday that it believes North Korea has “unilaterally” cut off cross-border telephone communications in a moment of special tension in the peninsula due to the grand maneuvers by Seoul and Washington and the weapons tests by Pyongyang.
Today, For the fourth day, the North Korean regime did not respond to calls carried out through civil and military channels from the South.
On previous occasions, torrential rains, such as those that hit the Korean peninsula last week, have damaged the communications infrastructure in the north.
However, the South Korean Ministry of Unification, in charge of relations with the North, favors the option that Pionyang has decided to interrupt them voluntarily and “unilaterally”, as indicated by his spokesman, Koo Byoung-sam, today at a press conference.
“While we monitor the situation, the government is reviewing how to respond (to the North Korean government move). We will not take long to issue an official position,” the spokesperson said.
Seoul already warned last Friday that it did not receive any response to its calls, made every day at the first and last hour of the day. Security officials in Seoul and Pyongyang hold two phone conversations a day as a rule, either through their respective cross-border diplomatic services (on weekdays) or military channels (on weekends).
It is possible that the regime has interrupted communications in protest of the large military maneuvers that the South and the US are carrying out these days south of the 38th parallel.
Pyongyang has repeatedly threatened allies over these exercises, which have included the deployment of US strategic assets such as aircraft carriers or nuclear-capable bombers, and announced over the weekend that it had tested a nuclear-capable underwater drone for the first time.
The total suspension of communications is a rather unusual phenomenon and this time it takes place as the Kim Jong Un government conducts military exercises that include nuclear-capable underwater drones.
The last time the North completely disrupted communications was in the summer of 2020. in protest of Seoul’s alleged inaction in the face of anti-regime propaganda being sent out by activists from the South.
Another precedent for this silence took place in 2017, when North Korea broke communication several days before launching a ballistic missile that flew over Japan. The direct line between the two countries was theoretically restored four years later.
The tension on the peninsula is at maximum levels after 2022 in which the northern army carried out a record number of missile tests and in which the South Koreans and the Americans resumed their great military drills.
(With information from EFE and Europa Press)
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