North Korea announced today that it would formally shut down the inter-Korean liaison office and sever other official communication including a leaders' hotline.
This following the North's rebuke of South Korean authorities for failing to stop a defector group from sending propaganda leaflets on a little over a week ago.
With a government in Seoul still eager to find ways to cooperate with Pyeongyang, it seems Pyeongyang only wants to elevate a sense of crisis with Seoul. But why?
What does the Kim Jong-un regime gain from seeking to raise tensions with South Korea at this time?
It's the topic of our News In-depth with Go Myong-hyun, research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies live in the studio with us tonight.
Welcome to the program, Myong-hyun.
First of all, for those of our viewers not too familiar with inter-Korean affairs, why don't you give us a brief rundown of the five communication lines that are in place between the two Koreas - but, of course, have been cut off as of this Tuesday morning.
Theoretically, this month, the month of June, should be a time for celebrating warming inter-Korean relations, with June 15th marking the 20th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit of 2000.
Why the hostility now? Is the date a calculated move by the North, as well?
This is not the first time North Korea threatened to cut the channels.
In previous cases, North Korea simply didn't reply to South Korean phone calls or fax messages for an extended period before it later restored those communication channels when animosities eased.
How is this time different or is it different this time?
What's also worth pointing out - North Korea said the decision today was made by none other than Kim Yo-jong, the sister of leader Kim Jong-un and Kim Yong-chol - a former hard-line military intelligence chief who Seoul believes was behind two 2010 attacks that killed 50 South Koreans.
What are you reading into the emergence of these two figures together?
Flying anti-regime balloons over the border - this is nothing new. Is this such a big deal for North Korea to ahead with such a move? Or is North Korea deliberately creating tensions for other reasons such as to bolster internal unity or launch a bigger provocation in the face of persistent U.S.-led sanctions?
If this is North Korea using the relations it has with South Korea to send a message to the U.S., would it make a difference even if Seoul were to make new laws banning propaganda leaflets across the border?
Should South Korea's liberal government which espouses greater ties with North Korea continue to work toward restoring relations with the North, at this point?
Will such a move by Pyeongyang lead Washington to make any kind of a move especially, as President Donald Trump remains preoccupied not only with a public health situation in that country, but also an anti-racial protest spreading across the U.S.?
What's next? Which of Kim Yo-jong's threats will begin to play out in the weeks ahead? Which ones will North Korea not quite go ahead with?
Go Myong-hyun, research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, many thanks as always for your insights this evening. We appreciate it.
"Starting 12:00 P.M. on June 9, 2020, we will completely cut off and shut down the liaison line between the authorities of the North and the South which has been maintained through the North-South joint liaison office, the East and West Seas communication lines between the militaries, the inter-Korean trial communication line, and the hotline between the office building of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and Cheongwadae."
"We have reached a conclusion that there is no need to sit face to face with the S. Korean authorities and there is no issue to discuss with them as they have only aroused our dismay."