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Kim Jong Un dismantles North Korean agencies talking to South

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un dismantled North Korean government organizations in charge of managing relations with South Korea, citing the North’s hostility with the South, The Associated Press reported Monday.

The decision to slash the agencies came during a meeting of the North’s rubber-stamp Parliament on Monday, The AP reported, citing North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

During a speech at the meeting, Kim took aim at South Korea and the United States for escalating tensions and said it is not possible for the North to have a peaceful reunification with the South.

The move underscores Kim’s recent decision to not pursue reconciliation with the South and comes weeks after he said continuing to attempt reconciliation with the rival nation was a “mistake.”

Kim on Monday urged the assembly to rewrite the North’s constitution in its next meeting to label South Korea as the North’s “No. 1 hostile country,” KCNA reportedly said.

The Supreme People’s Assembly said Monday the two Koreas are in an “acute confrontation,” and it would be a mistake for the North to consider the South a partner in diplomacy, the news wire said.

“The Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, the National Economic Cooperation Bureau and the [Mount Kumgang] International Tourism Administration, tools which existed for [North-South] dialogue, negotiations and cooperation are abolished,” the assembly wrote in a statement, per the AP.

The National Economic Cooperation Bureau and the Mount Kumgang International Tourism Administration were tasked with handling joint economic and tourism projects between the Koreas during a short period of reconciliation in the 2000s, but such projects were halted in recent years amid escalating tensions, the AP reported.

Tensions have spiked in the Korean Peninsula in recent months as the North continues missile tests and the South expands its joint military training with the U.S. In remarks at the end of last year, Kim vowed to launch three new military spy satellites, produce attack drones and expand the country’s nuclear materials in the coming year.

The moves come one day after North Korea claimed it successfully test-fired a hypersonic missile in an effort to verify the ability of the hypersonic warhead and the solid-fuel engines. China and Russia both have hypersonic missiles of their own, as the U.S. races to develop one of its own.

The Associated Press contributed.

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