(LEAD) N. Korea halts radio station known for sending coded messages to spies in Seoul

SEOUL, North Korea is pressing ahead with measures to disband its inter-Korean organizations, apparently stopping a radio station previously used to send encrypted messages to its spies in South Korea. As of Saturday, the North appears to have stopped broadcasting the state-run Pyongyang Radio and cut off access to its website. The latest move comes after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered "readjusting and reforming" its organizations in charge of inter-Korean affairs during a key Workers' Party meeting last month amid growing cross-border tensions. Pyongyang Radio is known for broadcasting a series of mysterious numbers, presumed to be coded messages, giving directions to its agents operating in South Korea. The North resumed such broadcasts in 2016 after suspending them in 2000, when the two Koreas held their first historic summit. On Saturday, North Korea said it also held a meeting the previous day to decide to dissolve organizations in charge of civilian exchanges with the South, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). All relevant organizations, including the North Side Committee for Implementing June 15 Joint Declaration, the North Headquarters of the Pan-national Alliance for Korea's Reunification, the Consultative Council for National Reconciliation and the Council for the Reunification of Tangun's Nation, will be readjusted, the KCNA said. The meeting also called for a new reunification policy based on the view that the "South Korean puppets" who have pursued only the collapse of the North's power and unification by absorption are the "main enemy of the DPRK to be completely wiped out." DPRK stands for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. North Korea has stepped up provocations after Kim defined inter-Korean ties as relations "between two states hostile to each other" and called for stepped-up preparations to "suppress the whole territory of South Korea" at the year-end ruling party meeting. Kim also for a "fundamental change" in dealing with South Korea and instructed the disbandment of organizations in charge of inter-Korean affairs. As a follow-up measure, North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui led discussions early this month to dismantle the United Front Department in charge of relations with the South, according to state media. Relations between South and North Korea remain strained, with tensions sharply escalating last week after Pyongyang fired around 350 rounds of artillery shells in waters off its west coast between Jan. 5 and 7, the first live-fire drills near the sea border since December 2022. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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