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North Korea moves to send troops to disarmed areas near border

A North Korean soldier stands at the check point seen from South Korea, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 16, 2020 in Paju, South Korea. North Korea's military said Tuesday it is reviewing plans to re-enter border areas disarmed under inter-Korean agreements, days after the North threatened to take military action over the sending of leaflets by activists from South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images/TNS)

North Korea said it would deploy troops into areas on its side of the border where it had joint projects with South Korea, further escalating tensions with its neighbor a day after destroying a liaison office the two once shared.

The General Staff of the Korean People’s Army will send the troops in the areas around a joint factory park in the western border city of Kaesong, where the liaison office was located, and to the Mount Kumgang tourist area, the official Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday, citing a spokesman.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presides over a military parade on April 15, 2017. North Korea blows up South Korea liaison office, Seoul says. (Yonhap News/Newscom/Zuma Press/TNS)

The two Koreas agreed to remove troops from these areas to make way for the joint projects that had once been seen as symbols of reconciliation. Those efforts are now the focal point of a pressure campaign by Kim Jong Un’s regime to have President Moon Jae-in halt activists groups from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border by balloons.

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Kim Yo Jong, the North Korean leader’s sister, “flatly rejected” a request from Moon’s government to send national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and spy agency chief Suh Hoon as special envoys, KCNA said separately.

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© 2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.