North Korea has blown up a liaison office building that was used for talks with South Korea.

The demolition of the empty building, the carrying out of which had been "previously signaled" by North Korea, was described in an Associated Press-cited statement from South Korea officials as an act betraying "hopes for an improvement in South-North Korean relations and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula."

In their own statement on the symbolic explosion, the state-run Korean Central News Agency in North Korea said the office was destroyed due to their "enraged people" wanting to "force human scum, and those who have sheltered the scum, to pay dearly for their crimes."

The Defense Ministry in South Korea, meanwhile, is said to be monitoring military actions made by North Korea and is prepared to counter "future provocations."

Moon Jae-in, who's been president of South Korea since 2017, said back in January that he remained optimistic regarding the potential for strengthening the relationship with North Korea, which has also been complicated by the U.S.

"North Korea has made it clear that the door for dialogue hasn't been shut, even though there was a condition that the dialogue can only resume when North Korea's demands were met," Moon said at the time.

The office destroyed on Tuesday had been closed since the end of January due to COVID-19 concerns. Moon's most recent comments, excerpted here in a CNN report, see the president reiterating the need for both sides to get back to negotiations rather than fall back into a "period of confrontation."