The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened military action against South Korea as she bashed Seoul on Saturday (June 13) over declining bilateral relations and its inability to stop activists from floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
Describing South Korea as an enemy, Kim Yo Jong repeated an earlier threat she had made by saying Seoul will soon witness the collapse of a useless inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Kaesong.
Kim, who is first vice department director of the ruling Workers Party’s Central Committee, said she would leave it to North Korea’s military leaders to carry out the next step of retaliation against the South.
“I feel it is high time to surely break with the south Korean authorities. We will soon take a next action. By exercising my power authorized by the Supreme Leader, our Party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” she was quoted by the KCNA news agency as saying.
“The right to taking the next action against the enemy will be entrusted to the General Staff of our army. Before long, a tragic scene of the useless north-south joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen,” she said without specifying what the military action would be.
Related news: North Korea cuts off all communication with South Korea
“If I drop a hint of our next plan the (South Korean) authorities are anxious about, the right to taking the next action against the enemy will be entrusted to the General Staff of our army. Our army, too, will determine something for cooling down our peoples resentment and surely carry out it, I believe,” she said.
Kim Yo Jong’s harsh rhetoric demonstrates her elevated status in North Korea’s leadership. Already seen as the most powerful woman in the country and her brothers closest confidant, state media recently confirmed that she is now in charge of relations with South Korea.
The liaison office in Kaesong, which has been shut since January due to coronavirus concerns, was set up as a result of one of the main agreements reached in three summits between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in 2018.
Moon’s government had lobbied hard to set up nuclear summits between Kim and President Donald Trump, who have met three times since 2018.
At the same time, Moon also worked to improve inter-Korean relations.
But North Korea in recent months has suspended virtually all cooperation with the South while expressing frustration over the lack of progress in its nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.
Yo Jong’s statement came after senior North Korean Foreign Ministry official Kwon Jong Gun bashed South Korea, telling its rival to stop nonsensical talk about its denuclearisation and vowing to expand its military capabilities.
The statement by Jong Gun came after South Korea’s Foreign Ministry told reporters that Seoul will continue to work toward improving bilateral relations and reviving nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.
Related news: ‘Missing’ Kim resurfaces and peace gets a chance again
The North over the past week declared it will cut off all government and military communication channels with the South and threatened to abandon inter-Korean peace agreements reached in 2018. It blamed Seoul for failing to stop activists from floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
Seouls Foreign Ministry was reacting to a separate North Korean statement late Friday that said the Norths confidence with the Souths government was completely shattered and that regretful and painful times were ahead for its rival.
Kwon, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s U.S. affairs department, said it was preposterous to hear the balderdash of (South Korean) authorities, who do not have either any qualification to discuss, or the position to poke their noses into matters between North Korea and the United States, including nuclear issues. He dismissed South Korea’s role as a mediator between Washington and Pyongyang.
“I want to make it clear that we will continue to build up our force in order to overpower the persistent threats from the United States, and such efforts of ours are in fact continuing at this point of time,” Kwon said in a statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.
“We are not what we were two years ago. The change continues and will continue as ever in a tremendous way. It is better to stop a nonsensical talking about denuclearization.
Nuclear talks faltered after the United States rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of the North’s nuclear capabilities at Kims second summit with Trump in Vietnam in February last year.
Trump and Kim met for a third time that year in June at the border between North and South Korea and agreed to resume talks. But an October working-level meeting in Sweden broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans old stance and attitude.
On the two-year anniversary of the first Kim-Trump meeting on Friday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said the North would never again gift Trump with high-profile meetings he could boast as foreign policy achievements unless it gets something substantial in return.
For years, activists have floated huge balloons into North Korea carrying leaflets criticizing Kim Jong Un over his nuclear ambitions and dismal human rights record.
The leafleting has sometimes triggered a furious response from North Korea, which bristles at any attempt to undermine its leadership.
While Seoul has sometimes sent police officers to block the activists during sensitive times, it had previously resisted North Korea’s calls to fully ban them, saying they were exercising their freedom.
“Activists have vowed to continue with the balloon launches. We should not lend an ear to and trust the trite language let out by (the South) for only forms sake as they always make a fuss belatedly, nor pardon the sins committed by the betrayers and human scum,” Kim Yo Jong said.
(With inputs from agencies)