North Korea: Kim Jong-un suspends actions against the South

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BEIJING – After showing off her younger sister Kim Yo-jong in the role of the bad cop, here Kim Jong-un return to the scene in that of the good dictator, or at least in dialogue. On Tuesday, the Central Military Commission of the North Korean Socialist Party, chaired by Marshal Kim, decided during a videoconference meeting to suspend “military actions” against the South.The regime media have not added any explanations, but it is the first gesture of relaxation by Pyongyang after days of constant escalation, culminating with the partial destruction of the liaison office and with the announcement of a plan to return to occupy with the military the border areas freed, thus breaking the agreement reached after the historic summit of 2018.

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On the field, close to the 38th parallel, the army immediately carried out the orders, removing part of the loudspeakers for the loud propaganda that had been put back in position in the previous hours. While from the state media websites, which until the evening before promoted national mobilization for the launch of leaflets to the enemy, many of the most critical contents towards Seoul suddenly disappeared.The reasons for this sudden pause in escalation are not clear even to the South Korean government, which continues to monitor the situation. But Kim’s intervention, although not appearing in photos or videos, seems to confirm what has been hypothesized in recent days, namely that Pyongyang was carrying out a premeditated crisis with Seoul to try to reopen peace negotiations on a dead end. And that having thrown Sister Kim Yo-jong on the front line, in addition to crediting her in all respects as number two of the regime, would have given Kim the opportunity to intervene at the right time to lower her tone, signaling her willingness to negotiate.

However, it is not clear if and why this may be the right time. No official contacts are known between Seoul and Pyongyang, in recent days the regime had dryly rejected Moon’s proposal to send an emissary and ignored the calls to comply with the 2018 agreements, the main result of which was to have interrupted “hostile acts” in the area demilitarized border.

The official reason for the North Korean escalation, considered by many observers to be a pretext, had been the launching of propaganda leaflets to the North by groups of deserters refugees to the South. In recent days the South Korean government has shown greater decision in countering these actions , judged a hostile act by Pyongyang, denouncing the activist groups that organized them.

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As said, many analysts consider the crisis scripted by the North a stratagem with which to try to restart the path of negotiations, drawing more concessions. It is possible that Pyongyang is pressuring Seoul to proceed with bilateral economic cooperation projects, ignoring international sanctions against the North.




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The problem is that the room for maneuver for Moon appears limited, especially without Trump’s approval, which at this moment seems to have relegated North Korea to a marginal theme. In the absence of feedback from the South, that announced by Kim could prove to be only a momentary pause, waiting to relaunch the escalation.



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https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2020/06/24/news/corea_del_nord_kim_retromarcia_sospende_azioni_militari-260032798/

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