Pyongyang did not pick up morning calls, South says

World | 9 Jun 2020 10:51 am

North Korea did not answer South Korea's morning phone calls via their military hotlines today, the defense ministry said, after the North vowed to sever all communication lines with the South in its first step against what it called an "enemy."

Earlier in the day, North Korea said it will "completely" close the inter-Korean liaison line, as well as hotlines between their militaries and presidential offices, at noon Tuesday in protest against Seoul's failure to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets into the North, Yonhap reports.

"North Korea did not answer our calls via the military communication lines this morning," defense ministry spokesperson Choi Hyun Soo said, adding that it is the first time that the North did not respond since the hotlines were restored in 2018.

The military authorities of the two Koreas had regular telephone calls twice a day -- at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. -- via their eastern and western communication lines until Monday, though the North did not pick up the South's morning liaison office call that day.

"We will continue to monitor the situation," Choi said, refusing to reveal details. Asked if Seoul will make a call at 4:00 p.m., the spokesperson simply said it "remains to be seen."

The military hotlines are meant to prevent accidental military clashes between the two Koreas. The west coast communication line, in particular, was used to send notices to the North Korean side.

The communist country also did not respond to the South's contact via their ship-to-ship radio links in the day, according to the official. The inter-Korean maritime communication was also restored in 2018 after a decade of being severed.


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