Seoul, Jan 30: Pyongyang has cancelled one of the joint events it had agreed to hold with Seoul following a “historic” meeting earlier in January, and has blamed the South Korean media for it.
In a fax on Monday, Pyongyang cancelled the celebration of the joint cultural performance, scheduled for February 4, accusing the South’s media of encouraging biased public sentiment towards the North, Efe news reported.
Pyongyang’s decision on the scheduled event on Mount Kumgang during the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, was announced late on Monday, the South Korean Unification Ministry said on Tuesday.
The Kim Jong-un regime accused the South’s media of producing “biased” reports about the upcoming event and an “internal event” of the regime, referring to the military parade it was preparing for February 8.
For weeks, South Korean media have been analysing satellite images showing Pyongyang’s rehearsals for a large military parade, scheduled for the day before the opening of the PyeongChang Olympic Games.
Both Koreas have agreed to march together for the first time in more than a decade.
Some conservative politicians of Seoul criticised the military parade as a provocation.
This was despite the fact that Seoul had extended its hand to the regime to participate in the Olympics and had suspended its joint military maneouvres with the US to defuse tension on the peninsula.
“It is very regrettable,” the Unification Ministry said in a statement after hearing the decision.
“What has been agreed must be implemented under the spirit of mutual respect and understanding as the South and the North have only taken a hard-earned first step toward improving the South-North relationship,” it added.
The event at Mount Kumgang was to be part of a series of events to be held, along with the North Korean participation in the Winter Olympics.
The two neighbours have technically remained at war since the 1950s and it was believed that this rapprochement could ease the regional tensions.
The year 2017 was marked by the North’s consistent weapons tests and the US President Donald Trump’s belligerent rhetoric and threats, which the talks at the beginning of 2018 tried to ease.