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Google Maps User Claims He's Discovered the Blown-Up Intra-Korean Liaison Office

© AP Photo / Lee Jin-manFILE - In this April 24, 2018, file photo, the Kaesong industrial complex in North Korea is seen from the Taesungdong freedom village inside the demilitarized zone during a press tour in Paju, South Korea
FILE - In this April 24, 2018, file photo, the Kaesong industrial complex in North Korea is seen from the Taesungdong freedom village inside the demilitarized zone during a press tour in Paju, South Korea - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.08.2021
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In what was seen as a symbolic gesture, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office building in June 2020 amid deadlocked diplomacy to restore engagement between the two countries, with photos from South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency showing smoke rising from what appeared to be a complex of buildings.
A Google Maps fan claims he has spotted a partially destroyed office block in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that may be what's left of the Korean Inter-Joint Liaison Office.
After surveying aerial images taken for Google's digital mapping service, a Reddit social news website user going by the name of d2suarez posted images of a deserted blue and green building in August 2020.
“I was looking at the satellite images of North Korea and noticed that it looks like there was an explosion in this office building. There appears to be glass all over the parking lot," the user wrote alongside the post.
The images appeared to show rubble and broken glass scattered across a parking lot. The discovery was made in the southern city of Kaesong, four miles from the border with South Korea.
Other Reddit users speculated as to what it might be, until the author of the post added further clarification, writing:
"I just figured out that it was the Korean Inter-Joint Liaison Office. It sounds like South Korea built it but North Korea attempted and failed to demolish it."

Intra-Korean Engagement Efforts

North and South Korean leaders held three summits in 2018 — in April, May and September — aimed at reducing tensions and increasing the cooperation between the states. In particular, the talks were focused on the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
The leaders also agreed upon setting up the joint Liaison Office in North Korea’s border city of Kaesong and using it as a communication channel between the two countries.
The building of the Inter-Joint Liaison Office in the Kaesong Industrial Complex was opened in September 2018, following an agreement set down in the Panmunjom Declaration between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on 27 April that year.
The building was reportedly temporarily abandoned in January 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and by June 2020, it had been partially demolished by North Korea, according to media reports.
There were no indications that anyone had been hurt in the blast, as the four-storey building was reportedly filled with munitions that were detonated by the North Korean military.
​At the time, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA, the state news agency of North Korea, released a statement saying that "the liaison office was tragically ruined with a terrific explosion", adding that it reflected "the mind-set of the enraged people", determined to “force (the) human scum, and those who have sheltered the scum, to pay dearly for their crimes.”
The latter was seen as an apparent reference to North Korean defectors living in South Korea. The latter had floated anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border for years.
© AP Photo / Lee Jin-manA map of two Koreas showing the Demilitarized Zone with North Korea's capital Pyongyang and South Korea's capital Seoul is seen at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020
A map of two Koreas showing the Demilitarized Zone with North Korea's capital Pyongyang and South Korea's capital Seoul is seen at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.09.2021
A map of two Koreas showing the Demilitarized Zone with North Korea's capital Pyongyang and South Korea's capital Seoul is seen at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020
South Korea had deplored the demolition, which it said "abandons the hopes of everyone who wanted the development of inter-Korean relations and peace settlement in the Korean Peninsula". In an effort to ease strained ties between the two Koreas amid a standstill in broader nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington, anti-leafleting legislation was passed in December in the South Korean Parliament.
Lawmakers had supported President Moon Jae-in’s engagement policy on North Korea, with the law going into effect in late March. On July 27, communication lines to organize virtual inter-Korean dialogue during the global pandemic were restored, giving hopes for resuming dialogue between the two countries.
 
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