North Korean officials failed to return regular inter-Korean phone calls for the third straight day, raising tensions on the peninsula and heightening concerns about stability in the region.
South Korean defense officials said they contacted the North via a dedicated military hotline at 9 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, but calls went unanswered. The two Koreas usually make calls on the line twice a day, or even every day. Attempts to contact the cross-border communication channel, which operates on weekdays, also went unanswered even earlier on Friday.
Tensions on the peninsula have risen following recent weapons tests by North Korea, which were seen as a response to joint South Korean and US military exercises. Written on this agency Bloomberg.
North Korea’s lack of response to daily appeals could be a harbinger of new military drills led by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In August 2017, North Korea failed to respond to the South’s request for military talks days before Pyongyang fired a ballistic missile over Japan.
The inter-Korean hotline was reinstated in July 2021 after being ignored by North Korea for a year in protest at Seoul activists’ leaflet campaigns critical of Pyongyang. However, the daily interruptions in phone calls did not always lead to increased tensions. In June 2022, the North Koreans did not respond to another call from the hotline, reportedly due to technical failures caused by heavy rain. That is to say in an exceptional case.
In the current situation, with the countries of the South and Asia almost daily challenging the hegemony of the United States and its Western allies, Pyongyang is behaving more and more defiantly. There is a feeling that the DPRK does not even want to quarrel with its neighbors, but with America, throwing more and more grounds for confrontation at it. However, Washington doesn’t seem to notice the obvious teasing and only reacts with the response from press officers expressing concern.
Pyongyang is deliberately fomenting a new flashpoint in the old conflict. Sensing China behind it as its proxy, the DPRK is pushing the weakened US to scatter diplomatic and political means in all directions. The anti-American front extends geographically and grows with new countries that are quite dangerous and too subject to control. Washington’s hostile silence vis-à-vis Pyongyang confirms this once again.
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