Two days prior to blowing up the Inter-Korean Liaison Office in Kaesong, North Korea ordered nearby residents to keep clear of the area, Daily NK has learned. North Korean soldiers were also observed engaging in unusual activity to strengthen patrols and security in surrounding areas. 

On June 19, a source from Kaesong told Daily NK that the government’s systematic preparation for blowing up the liaison office “began to ramp up from June 14.” 

According to the source, North Korean authorities issued an order on June 14 instructing nearby residents to “stay away from the Kaesong Industrial Complex no matter what.”

North Korean authorities are also believed to have brought in soldiers on June 14 to closely monitor nearby areas and escort management staff away from the liaison office. Some locals also witnessed soldiers unloading boxes from two military trucks. 

“At the time, the people had no way of knowing what the boxes were, and it wasn’t until a loud explosion was heard on June 16 that they realized the boxes probably contained explosives,” the source told Daily NK. 

On the morning of June 16, local residents also observed three black sedans carrying officials in plain clothing drive toward the liaison office along with three military vehicles and two other vehicles inscribed with the words “Korean Central Broadcasting Committee” (KCBC). 

The number of security guards near the liaison office greatly increased until right before the explosion,” the source said. “Although locals who observed this from a distance had no way of knowing what was going on, they were afraid to say anything out of fear they might get in trouble, so they simply exchanged glances under the belief that something major was happening.” 

After hearing a loud explosion on the afternoon of June 16 and learning that the liaison office had been blown up, the locals belatedly realized that the soldiers had been coming and going in preparation for the explosion.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.