SEOUL – Pyongyang has canceled one of the joint events it had agreed to hold with Seoul following the historic meeting earlier this month, and blamed the South Korean media for encouraging biased public sentiment towards the North.
North Korea’s decision to suspend the event, scheduled to be held in the framework of agreements for North Korea to participate in the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games, was announced late on Monday by a fax sent to authorities in Seoul, a spokesperson of the South Korean Unification Ministry told EFE on Tuesday.
In the fax, Pyongyang cancels the celebration of a joint cultural performance, scheduled for Feb. 4 at North Korea’s Mount Kumgang, and accuses South Korean media of producing “biased” media reports about the upcoming event and an “internal event” of the regime, referring to the military parade that North Korea is preparing for Feb. 8.
For weeks, South Korean media have been analyzing satellite images showing Pyongyang’s rehearsals for a large military parade, scheduled for the day before the opening of the PyeongChang Olympic Games, in which both Koreas have agreed to march together for the first time in more than a decade.
Some conservative South Korean politicians criticized the military parade as a provocation, coming despite the fact that Seoul has extended its hand to the regime to participate in the Olympics and that South Korea and the United States suspended their joint military maneuvers to defuse tension on the peninsula.
On the other hand, several South Korean media on Monday pointed to an apparent lack of energy resources of the North Korean regime as a consequence of sanctions, which complicated the celebration of the event on Mount Kumgang.
“It is very regrettable that an event agreed by the South and the North will not be held due to North Korea’s unilateral notification (decision),” the South Korean 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 in the South Korean county of PyeongChang on Feb. 9, after the historic talks had been held earlier this month between the two countries, which have technically remained at war since the 1950s.
It is believed that this rapprochement can ease the regional tensions after the year 2017 was marked by the North’s consistent weapons tests and the US President Donald Trump’s belligerent rhetoric and threats.