By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA - North Korea has withdrawn from an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong, as the denuclearization process reached a deadlock following last month’s summit between the U.S. and Pyongyang leaders in Hanoi, South Korean media reported on Friday.
Quoting a statement from South’s Unification Ministry, Yonhap news agency said officials from North notified their counterparts from South during a liaison officers' meeting earlier in the day that “it would pull out of the office”.
The officials from North Korea cited “directive from the higher-ups” to withdraw, Yonhap said.
In September last year, the inter-Korean office was opened to facilitate inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation in accordance with an agreement that President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached at their first summit in April.
“The North said it will not care about whether South Korean officials remain or withdraw from the office,” the news agency said quoting the statement.
"The government considers this withdrawal decision regrettable and hopes the North will return at an early date so that the office will be operated normally,” Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung told a press briefing, according to Yonhap.
However, Chun added that all other inter-Korean communication channels are operating normally and the government will comprehensively review the situation and contemplate follow-up measures.