The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will cut off all communication and liaison lines with the Republic of Korea (ROK) at noon on Tuesday, DPRK's state media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, blasting Seoul for failing to stop "defectors from the North" from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets to the DPRK.
"The relevant field of our side will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the North and the South... This measure is the first step of the determination to completely shut down all contact means with South Korea (ROK) and get rid of unnecessary things," said the report early Tuesday local time in Pyongyang.
The move came days after Pyongyang threatened to abolish an inter-Korean liaison office and scrap their military agreement on easing tensions. The DPRK said the leaflet-sending activities had breached a series of peace agreements between Pyongyang and Seoul, particularly the Panmunjom Declaration signed in April 2018.
"The disgusting riff-raff have committed hostile acts against the DPRK by taking advantage of the South Korean (ROK) authorities' irresponsible stance and with their connivance. They dared to hurt the dignity of our supreme leadership," the KCNA said.
"As far as the issue of the dignity of our supreme leadership is concerned, there can neither be a pardon nor an opportunity. They should be forced to pay dearly for this," it added.
The DPRK has "reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face to face with the South Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them, as they have only aroused our dismay," said the KCNA.
It announced that the DPRK will "completely cut off and shut down" all communications lines with the ROK at noon on Tuesday, including the hotline between DPRK's ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and ROK's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, as well as a liaison line and military communication lines.
The decisions were made at a meeting attended by Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the WPK and also DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's sister, and Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the WPK, the KCNA said.
They "stressed that the work towards the South should thoroughly turn into the one against enemy" and discussed "phased plans" for such transition "in order to make the betrayers and riff-raff pay for their crimes."
ROK's Unification Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that the country is committed to the agreements reached leaders of the two sides despite Pyongyang's warning.
On Monday, the U.S. State Department said Washington supports inter-Korean cooperation and works with Seoul to ensure cooperation proceeds together with progress in DPRK's denuclearization.
Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in signed the Panmunjom Declaration during their first-ever summit at the border village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018, vowing to put an end to the Korean War and beginning a "new era of peace" on the Korean Peninsula.
They held two more summits later that year as inter-Korean relations warmed up. The DPRK and the ROK launched their joint liaison office in the border town of Kaesong in the North in September 2018 to enable round-the-clock communication.
But inter-Korean cooperation stalled after a summit between the DPRK leader and U.S. President Donald Trump collapsed in Vietnam's Hanoi in February last year due to differences over denuclearization and sanctions relief.
The DPRK on Friday announced its withdrawal from the joint liaison office.