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June 18, 2020 - A mounting spat sparked by defectors in South Korea sending anti-regime propaganda balloons across the North Korean border is raising the risk of a military confrontation.
North Korea said on Wednesday it had rejected a South Korean offer to send special envoys to ease escalating tension over defiance by North Korean defectors and stalled reconciliation efforts, and it vowed to redeploy troops to border areas.
The rivals have intensified their animosities in recent days, with Pyongyang unleashing fiery rhetoric over propaganda leaflets that South Korean activists have launched aboard balloons toward North Korea. North Korea on Monday blew up a joint liaison office set up on its side of the border as part of a 2018 peace agreement between the two countries’ leaders.
Many experts say North Korea is dialing up pressure on Seoul and Washington as its troubled economy has likely worsened due to U.S.-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic. Nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington has made little headway for more than a year.
- North Korea rejects Souths offer of envoys, vows to redeploy border troops (Reuters)
- North Korea and South Korea Inch Closer Toward Low-Level Military Confrontation (Stratfor)
- N. Korea could redeploy artillery, armored units to border areas (Yonhap News)
- North Korea to redeploy troops to Kaesong, Mount Kumgang areas (Korean Times)