Kim Jong-un calls off threats, insults directed at South

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Kim Jong-un calls off threats, insults directed at South

North Korea removed propaganda loudspeakers in the demilitarized zone on Wednesday, as shown on the right, just two days after setting them up on Monday afternoon. [YONHAP]

North Korea removed propaganda loudspeakers in the demilitarized zone on Wednesday, as shown on the right, just two days after setting them up on Monday afternoon. [YONHAP]

 
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un slammed the brakes on military confrontation with South Korea, according to the North’s state media Wednesday. 
 
The Workers’ Party Central Military Commission, presided over by Kim, “took stock of the prevailing situation and suspended the military action plans against the south” presented by the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, read an English-language report from the regime mouthpiece Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
 
With Kim’s decision, the regime immediately began dismantling loudspeakers set up this week to air propaganda broadcasts, a major step to deescalate tensions that began with condemnations of Seoul this month by his sister Kim Yo-jong and the demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office at Kaesong.  
 
Pyongyang’s state media on Wednesday also withdrew 13 separate propaganda pieces condemning South Korea just hours after they were posted, curtailing a weeks-long anti-Seoul publicity campaign.  
 
North Korea has been taking retaliatory steps against South Korea for propaganda leaflets flown by private groups over the border. Earlier this month, it called South Korea an "enemy" and cut off all cross communication lines, threatening more "punishment."
 
Last week, it blew up an inter-Korean liaison office that was created in its border town of Kaesong after a 2018 summit between the two Koreas.
 
Pyongyang threatened to redeploy troops to border areas of Kaesong and Mount Kumgang, which were disarmed under inter-Korean agreements for joint business projects, and threatened to resume "all kinds of regular military exercises" near the border.
 
It reinstalled military propaganda loudspeakers along the inter-Korean border after they were removed under the 2018 summit agreement. 
 
North Korea's state media outlets earlier said that Pyongyang is preparing to send around 12 million anti-South Korea propaganda leaflets via some 3,000 balloons and other means in a tit-for-tat move against the leaflets dispatched from the South.
 
BY SHIM KYU-SEOK, YONHAP [shim.kyuseok@joongang.co.kr]

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