North Korea scraps agencies managing relations with South as Kim Jong Un cites hostility with rival

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Korean People’s Army Air Force headquarters on the occasion of Aviation Day in North Korea, in this picture released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 1, 2023.

KCNA | Reuters

North Korea has abolished key government organizations tasked with managing relations with South Korea, state media said Tuesday, as authoritarian leader Kim Jong Un said he would no longer pursue reconciliation with his rival.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said the decision to abolish the agencies handling dialogue and cooperation with the South was made during a meeting of the country’s rubber-stamp parliament on Monday.

During a speech at the assembly, Kim blamed South Korea and the United States for raising tensions in the region. He said it has become impossible for the North to pursue reconciliation and a peaceful reunification with the South.

He called for the assembly to rewrite the North’s Constitution in its next meeting to define South Korea as the North’s “No. 1 hostile country.”

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are at their highest point in years after Kim in recent months ramped up his weapons demonstrations. The United States and its allies Seoul and Tokyo responded by strengthening their combined military exercises and sharpening their nuclear deterrence strategies.

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