North Korea has aired footage of a huge explosion bringing down an office used for talks with the South.
The country’s state-run television KRT aired a video showing the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong being destroyed in a blast.
North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said the liaison building was “ruined with a terrific explosion”.
The office building was seen being blown up and a neighbouring 15-storey block also partially collapsed in a large explosion.
Destruction of the building, closed since January due to coronavirus fears, represented a major setback to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s efforts to coax North Korea into cooperation.
It also appeared to be a further blow to the US.
President Donald Trump’s hopes of persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and open up to the world.
Maxar Technologies, a US space technology company, released a series of four still images showing the Kaesong Industrial Complex, where the office was located.
The company says one of the images from the day before the office was destroyed shows cargo trucks in the area that are not usually in that location.
North Korea today rejected South Korea’s offer to send special envoys to ease escalating tensions over defector activity, stalled reconciliation efforts and vowed to redeploy troops to border areas.
Satellite images released on Wednesday (June 17) show an inter-Korean liaison office before it was destroyed amid rising tensions between the North and South Korea.
Relations between the two Koreas have plunged to their lowest since Moon took office in 2017 vowing to work to end decades-old confrontation and be a mediator in nudging North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programmes.
But with South Korea’s ally the United States showing no sign of easing pressure on North Korea, despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to woo leader Kim Jong Un, Moon has found himself stuck between escalating threats from North Korea and sanctions against it.
In the absence of sanctions relief, North Korea has increasingly derided Moon’s calls for engagement between the two Koreas as meaningless.
Moon initially sought to quietly send envoys to defuse the rising tensions this week, but Pyongyang publicly rejected that, triggering a rebuke from Seoul.
South Korea now has to come up with a way of achieving progress with North Korea within the confines of the sanctions, said Jenny Town, a Korea specialist at the Washington-based Stimson Center think-tank.