North Korea said on Tuesday that it plans to cut off all communications with South Korea. For now, North Korea would treat South Korea as an "enemy," according to North Korea's state news service, Korea Central News Agency.
Cutting off communication lines between the countries' leaders and militaries was the first step. The move comes in response to "defectors from the north" scattering leaflets "smearing" North Korea. "This was an expression of hostility to all our people," NK said. South Korea and North Korea are technically still at war with each other, as the Korean War of the early 1950s ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty. The decision was attributed in part to Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has risen in prominence in recent weeks.
Experts suspect the underlying reason is an attempt to gain leverage in inter-Korean negotiations that have stalled since a series of high-profile summits in 2018. "The communications line between South and North Korea ... must be maintained as agreed," an official from South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a briefing.