North Korea: Kim Jong Un’s sister castigates Seoul’s « perfidy »
Influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong, blasted Seoul’s « treacherous » attitude on Tuesday over joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States, warning the two allies that they were facing serious security threats.
Kim Yo Jong, one of her brother’s closest advisers, denounced the “dangerous” military exercises jointly carried out by Seoul and Washington in August, which Pyongyang sees as a repeat for an invasion of the North.
“I take this opportunity to express my deep regret about the treacherous treatment of the South Korean authorities,” she said in a statement released by the official North Korean news agency KCNA.
The South Korean and US armies began preliminary training on Tuesday ahead of their annual summer exercises next week.
By carrying out these military maneuvers, Seoul and Washington “would surely face greater security threats,” she warned, adding that the North would strengthen its defense and pre-emptive strikes capabilities.
Kim Yo Jong’s statements come despite an unexpected thaw on the Korean peninsula favored by a series of personal letters exchanged between his brother and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The two sides in July restored cross-border communications that had been cut off for more than a year, assuring that the leaders had agreed to work to improve their relations.
Seoul and Washington are allies by treaty, with the United States stationing nearly 28,500 troops in South Korea to defend the country against its nuclear-weapon neighbor.
They have already scaled back the scope of their annual joint military exercises to facilitate nuclear talks with Pyongyang.
The South Korean president has to his credit the negotiation of the first-ever summit between North Korea and a sitting US president, in Singapore in 2018.
But the North has again cut off contacts with Seoul after the second summit between Kim and then US President Donald Trump in Hanoi failed, leaving nuclear talks at a standstill.