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South Korea holds top security meeting over Pyongyang’s threats

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SEOUL, South Korea

South Korea’s top security officials held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss a series of recent threats by North Korea, including of military action, which have built up tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Chung Eui-yong, director of national security at the presidential office, and top security officials including the foreign, unification and defense ministers reviewed the current security situation on the Korean Peninsula as well as Seoul’s response to the recent harsh rhetoric by Pyongyang, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kang Min-seok.

The emergency security meeting came as Pyongyang built up tensions in inter-Korean ties with a threat to cut off all communication lines with South Korea last week.

Protesting against anti-North Korea leaflets sent by activists and North Korean defectors in the South, Pyongyang threatened to sever all telephone lines between the two Koreas last Tuesday.

Since then, the North has ratcheted up tensions with South Korea with a series of more harshly worded rhetoric, spearheaded by Kim Yo-jong, the powerful younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Such threats culminated on Saturday as Yo-jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), warned that Pyongyang would “break with” South Korea and signaled military action against Seoul.

“I feel it is high time to surely break with the South Korean authorities. We will soon take a next action,” Kim said in a statement carried Saturday by the Korean Central News Agency.

The renewed tensions between South and North come as nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for more than a year due to differences over the scope of North Korea’s denuclearization and sanctions relief from the U.S.

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