The destruction of the inter-Korean joint liaison office and threatening to take military action against the South all began from remarks made by Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's sister and the first vice director of the United Front Department of the Workers' Party of Korea.
She also refused the South's offer to send a special envoy to Pyeongyang and launched a blistering criticism of President Moon Jae-in.
While tensions remain high between the two Koreas, the regime's leader Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public since his sister started taking a sledgehammer to inter-Korean relations.
His last appearance was when he presided over a meeting of the Workers' Party of Korea's Central Military Commission earlier this month.
But speculation spiked about his whereabouts when a flight tracker detected his private plane leaving Pyeongyang for Hamgyeongnam-do Province, located in northeastern North Korea.
Some experts say Kim Jong-un's prolonged absence could be his way of avoiding responsibility if the offense against South Korea falls flat.
"It cannot be said that Kim Yo-jong is making decisions and directing moves on her own. In my opinion, Kim Jong-un is behind the scenes coordinating, directing and approving everything."
Experts also say the decision to destroy the joint liaison office in Gaeseong may have been an attempt to bring the U.S. back to the negotiating table, with Washington currently focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic difficulties.
However, Kim Jong-un's speculated location could be of concern, as he may be near the Sinpo Shipyard, where the regime is currently working on the development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.