NBC News reports South Korea has accused North Korea of demolishing an inter-Korean liaison office building just north of the border between the two countries on Tuesday morning as tensions continue to escalate on the Korean peninsula.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with North Korea, confirmed to NBC News that the liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong was demolished “by bombing” on Tuesday afternoon local time.
“We confirm that NK demolished the inter-Korean liaison office in Gaesong Industrial Complex by bombing at 14:49 KST (01:49 ET),” a spokesperson said.
North Korean state news agency, KCNA, also reported Tuesday that the joint liaison office was “completely ruined.”
South Korea’s national security council has convened a meeting in the wake of the office’s destruction, a spokesperson for the country’s presidential office told NBC News.
On Friday, North Korea said it was pulling away from its relationship with the U.S. two years after a historic handshake between Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore, saying there had been no actual improvement in ties.
Earlier this month, North Korea threatened to permanently shut the liaison office with South Korea as it condemned its rival for failing to prevent activists from sending anti-North Korean leaflets across the border.
Last week, North Korea cited the same reasons for axing all communications with South Korea, a move analysts believe could be an attempt to manufacture a crisis and force concessions from its neighbor.
Before South Korea’s announcement that the liaison office was demolished, KCNA reported Tuesday that North Korea’s military threatened to move back into zones that were demilitarized under inter-Korean peace agreements in the past as the country continued to dial up pressure on Seoul amid stalled nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.
The General Staff of the Korean People’s Army said it’s reviewing a ruling party recommendation to advance into unspecified border areas that had been demilitarized under agreements with the South, which would “turn the front line into a fortress.”
On Sunday, South Korea convened an emergency security meeting after North Korean leader’s Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, one of his top aides, threatened military action against South Korea.
In a statement carried Saturday by KCNA, Kim Yo Jong said she would leave the decision to take the next step of retaliation against South Korea to North Korea’s military.
She also threatened to demolish the “useless” inter-Korean liaison office at the time.