North Korea to Cut All Communication with South Korea, Treat as 'Enemy' Amid Propaganda Row

North Korea has announced it was set to soon sever all ties with South Korea and revert from its recent reconciliatory stance back to a more traditionally hostile approach toward its neighboring rival.

The official Korean Central News Agency reported Monday that inter-Korean ties have become a "catastrophe," blaming South Korea for not taking serious enough action in preventing the scattering of anti-North Korean leaflets near their border, where heavy military fortifications had recently begun to be scaled back in a step toward peace. Seoul announced it would crackdown on the practice, but Vice-Chair Kim Yong Chol and First Vice Department Director Kim Yo Jong of the ruling Korean Workers' Party Central Committee reportedly lashed out during a review meeting.

Kim Yong Chol and Kim Yo Jong, who is supreme leader Kim Jong Un's sister, "stressed that the work towards the south should thoroughly turn into the one against enemy. They discussed phased plans for the work against the enemy in order to make the betrayers and riff-raff pay for their crimes, and then, to begin with, gave an instruction to completely cut off all the communication and liaison lines between the north and the south," according to the report.

The report said that Pyongyang at noon local time Tuesday "will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the north and the south" including their liaison office, two maritime military channels, the inter-Korean trial communication line and the executive hotline between the offices of the two heads of state.

north, south, korea, protest, leaflets
North Korean students take part in a rally denouncing 'defectors from the North' as they march from the Pyongyang Youth Park Open-Air Theatre to Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang on June 8. North Korea on has threatened to close a liaison office with the South as officials seethe over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border, saying further steps were also in the pipeline to make Seoul "suffer." KIM WON JIN/AFP/Getty Images

North Korean officials and media have published repeated warnings urging South Korean authorities to put an end to defectors' practice of spreading literature critical of Kim Jong Un's government.

South Korea's Unification Ministry announced Wednesday that the government "carried out measures to suspend the act of flying leaflets to the North on numerous occasions, taking note that such action can raise tensions in the border area." The statement said the practice creates pollution, threatens the anti-coronavirus cooperation and raises tensions to people living in the border region.

Earlier Monday, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesperson Yoh Sangkey confirmed that North Korean authorities at the inter-Korean liaison office did not answer a phone call for the first time since the site was established in September 2018. He said Seoul "will continue cooperating with the North for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, while fully implementing all existing inter-Korean agreements."

Across their tense boundary, the North Korean capital saw youth and student protests at which participants were "full of the will to mercilessly punish the mad dogs which dared to hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership," the Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday. Demonstrations were reportedly held nationwide in condemnation of Seoul's perceived failure to rein in the border troubles.

Single-party-led North Korea has few authorized political parties other than the Korean Workers' Party and none act in the role of opposition. Some who have fled the country have attempted to smuggle outside information back in along with political messaging condemning the North Korean government and its policies.

One mysterious group known as Free Joseon, or Cheollima Civil Defense, has claimed to have filmed subversive video within North Korea itself, though the extent of the organization's influence and membership is widely unknown. Occasionally the group has posted strings of words and numbers in code-like fashion online.

Seoul and Pyongyang technically remain at war since their 1950s conflict and exchanged fire most recently just last month, though the clash was deemed a mistake and violence between the two sides has become rare in more recent years, especially as the two sides stepped up their diplomatic engagement since early 2018. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un held an unprecedented three summits that year as President Donald Trump attempted to advanced a historic denuclearization-for-peace agreement.

With U.S.-North Korea negotiations stalled, interactions between Seoul and Pyongyang has slowed significantly, though Moon's administration has expressed a lasting desire for rapprochement.