North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has suspended unspecified military action against South Korea, state media said Wednesday, an apparent reduction in tensions following weeks of threats from Pyongyang
At a meeting of the ruling party’s central military commission, KimJong Un suspended the military action plans against the south,” according to the Korean Central News Agency.
A spokesperson for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, said, “Seoul was watching the situation and would continue to adhere to inter-Korean agreements”.
North Korea is upset at the South for lack of forward movement with a series of 2018 deals related to economic cooperation and reducing military tensions. The reason is that international sanctions against North Korea have prevented Seoul from implementing the deals, something that the North Korean leader seems not to care about.
North Korea took several steps to roll back many aspects of those inter-Korean agreements this month, including demolishing the two countries’ de facto embassy.
As part of the growing escalation, the North have also threatened to redeploy troops in parts of the demilitarised zone.
The threats fit a very familiar strategy of negotiations from North Korea: 1. Escalate tensions in order to 2. Later de-escalate, hoping to receive concessions or perhaps restart diplomacy.
Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a Korea specialist at King’s College London, said. “It’s not clear why North Korea would de-escalate now, since it received no obvious concessions from the South”.
Last week, the South Korean military said the North will “Definitely get payback” if it conducts any military provocation.
By making Kim Yo Jong (The sister of Kim Jong Un), the public face of the pressure campaign, North Korea may have been trying to preserve Kim Jong Un’s ability to eventually reverse course and improve relations with Seoul.
As of midday Wednesday, North Korea had given at least two other signs de-escalation was on the horizon.