North Korea severed all direct communication lines with South Korea Tuesday afternoon in an apparent move to express dissatisfaction over the South Korea, U.S. joint summertime military drills.
North Korea not responding to South Korea's daily call comes just two weeks since the two Koreas had restored the lines.
Before then, they were unilaterally severed by North Korea for over a year when the North blew up the inter-Korean liaison office to express its anger over anti-Pyeongyang propaganda leaflets flying in from the South.
Earlier Tuesday, North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo-jong had slammed South Korea and the U.S. as they began preliminary training for their joint military exercises which takes place up until Friday.
Through a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency Kim Yo-jong expressed strong regret over South Korean authorities' act of betrayal that she claimed would destabilize regional peace and security and that South Korea and the U.S. will pay the price.
Seoul's defense ministry refrained from responding to the North's statement saying that details regarding the actual exercise are still being discussed.
"The South Korea, U.S. joint military exercises are being considered regarding various factors including maintaining combined readiness amid the COVID-19 pandemic, fostering conditions conducive for the envisioned OPCON transfer, as well as supporting diplomatic efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and establishment of everlasting peace. Currently, the combined drills' duration, volume and method are being decided by the two countries."
Despite the ministry not giving any details sources say the actual summertime training for this year is likely to be carried out as planned from next Monday until August 26th in the form of computer simulations.
The Combined Command Post Training is being led by the head of the Combined Forces Command, U.S. Army General Paul LaCamera, who took office last month.
Due to the pandemic, the joint drill is widely believed to have been scaled down which makes it harder for the two militaries to get ready for the Full Operational Training an integral part of the conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.