North Korea pulls out of liaison office with South Korea | News | DW | 22.03.2019
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North Korea pulls out of liaison office with South Korea

North Korea hasn't given any reason for its decision to remove its staff from the office in the border town of Kaesong. South Korea said the decision was "regrettable."

North Korea has withdrawn its staff from a joint office with South Korea just north of the border, Seoul's Unification Ministry said on Friday.

The move is another setback for South Korea's efforts to reduce tensions with Pyongyang in the aftermath of a failed summit between the United States and North Korea.

What we know so far:

  • South Korean Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung said Pyongyang had "notified the South they are pulling out of the liaison office."
  • North and South Korea opened the office is in the town of Kaesong just north of the border in September amid efforts to promote closer ties.
  • Pyongyang did not give a reason for the decision.

Read more: North Korea mulls suspending denuclearization talks with US, diplomat says 

South 'regrets' move

Chun said the order was "from an upper command" and did not violate any of the deals struck between both countries last year.

He added that Seoul "regretted" the withdrawal, but would "continue to work at the liaison office as usual."

Why is this a setback? South Korean President Moon Jae-In has tried to ease tensions with the North since assuming office in 2017 and the office was a symbol of friendly ties between the North and South.

Why was the liaison office created? Both Koreas staffed the office with representatives to ensure regular communication and coordination on joint projects.

amp/rt (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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