North Korea leader dismisses top officials
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has removed several high-ranking officials from their posts following the recent escalation of tensions with the neighboring South.
According to a Friday report by the Associated Press, Kim dismissed several senior officials of the Central Military Commission, a powerful affiliate of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
North Korea has offered no reason for Kim’s decision to sack the officials, but some analysts say the move is most probably connected with the recent land mine explosions in the inter-Korean demilitarized zone that injured two South Korean soldiers and that heightened the tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang to an alarming degree.
Rising action, near-climax, falling action
While Pyongyang rejected the allegation that it had planted the mines, Seoul restarted propaganda broadcasts against the North through loudspeakers on the border after an 11-year-long hiatus. North Korea reinstalled loudspeakers of its own, and a rare exchange of fire ensued between the two sides.
The two sides finally reached an agreement to de-escalate tensions along their border on Tuesday, with Seoul pledging to stop the loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts and Pyongyang accepting to end a “semi-state of war” that had been called last week.
According to North Korea’s official KCNA news agency on Friday, Kim hailed the recent agreement with the South as “landmark,” saying that the deal has opened to both sides the path of “reconciliation and trust.”
Kim reportedly said that Pyongyang managed to force Seoul into accepting the deal through its nuclear power, stressing that North Korea would never negotiate over its nuclear program.
The two Koreas remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Meanwhile, the South Korean Red Cross has proposed talks with its North Korean counterpart on arranging a reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, officials said Friday.
According to South Korean officials, the talks are proposed to begin September 7 at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
The last family reunion was held in February 2014, and was the first such event in more than three years.