Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un suspended his military’s plans to take unspecified retaliatory action against South Korea, state media said Wednesday, possibly slowing a pressure campaign against its rival amid stalled nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.
Declaring relations as fully ruptured, the North last week blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in its territory and threatened unspecified military action against the South, censuring Seoul for a lack of progress in bilateral cooperation and failing to stop activists from floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency said Kim on Tuesday presided over a preliminary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission, which decided to suspend plans for military action against the South brought up by the North’s military leaders. The KCNA didn’t specify why the decision was made.
The North has a history of dialing up pressure against the South when it fails to get what it wants from the United States. The North’s recent steps came after months of frustration over Seoul’s unwillingness to defy US-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program and restart inter-Korean economic projects that would breathe life into its broken economy.
Nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington began to implode after Kim’s second summit with President Donald Trump last year in Vietnam, where the Americans rejected North Korea’s demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.