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North Korean leader's sister calls Yoon 'idiot,' says Seoul now 'target'

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Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, speaks at a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this Aug. 10 file photo. She denounced President Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday for considering additional sanctions on North Korea, calling him an 'idiot.
Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, speaks at a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this Aug. 10 file photo. She denounced President Yoon Suk-yeol on Thursday for considering additional sanctions on North Korea, calling him an 'idiot."

Kim Yo-jong's insulting rhetoric signals more weapons tests and aggression to come: expert

By Jung Min-ho

North Korean leader's powerful sister denounced President Yoon Suk-yeol and his diplomats, Thursday, for planning more sanctions on Pyongyang, calling them "idiots" and "loyal dogs" to Washington.

Kim Yo-jong, 35, whom experts say is in charge of North Korea's messages to South Korea and the U.S., blamed the administration for rising tensions and made a thinly veiled threat that Seoul has become a new "target" of attack.

"South Korea is parroting what the U.S. said about 'independent sanctions' on North Korea, so it is becoming more clear that the South Koreans are loyal dogs and henchmen of the U.S.," Kim was cited as saying by state-run media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). "The South Koreans are really idiots if they thought sanctions would lead to a way out of this current perilous situation."

Her remarks come as South Korea's foreign ministry is reviewing independent sanctions targeting North Korea's activities in cryptocurrency ― a key funding source for its weapons program development ― following many botched attempts to punish the regime in the U.N Security Council due to vetoes by China and Russia.

This year, North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of weapons tests including intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have prompted South Korea and the U.S. to carry out a series of large combined military drills in recent months.

"The people at the foreign ministry said they would consider independent sanctions against the exercise of our self-defense right, which they described as a 'provocation,'" She said. "I do not know why the [South Korean] people remain onlookers to their 'regime' in which Yoon Suk-yeol and his idiots continue to create a perilous situation … When Moon Jae-in was in office, Seoul was at least not our target."

This threat was slightly more direct toward South Korea, compared with the one made by Kim Jong-un, who in April threatened to use nuclear weapons against any country trying to damage its "fundamental interests."

This photo released Nov. 19 by the North Korean government shows a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile launched at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Nov. 18. UPI-Yonhap
This photo released Nov. 19 by the North Korean government shows a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile launched at Pyongyang International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, Nov. 18. UPI-Yonhap

Speaking to reporters later that day, a Unification Ministry official criticized her for "cheap," "seditious" remarks.

"We express our regret over Kim Yo-jong for denouncing the head of our state using cheap, abusive language without basic etiquette," the official said. "We also condemn her attempt to shake our system by inciting our people to an anti-government struggle. She should know such an attempt won't work … It will only tarnish the image of North Korea."

The North tends to issue strongly aggressive messages before showing highly aggressive behaviors, and her latest remarks may well be such a sign, Park Won-gon, a professor of North Korean studies at Ewha Womans University, told The Korea Times.

"North Korea appears to try to make the case for a high level of provocations it may be about to make, such as a nuclear weapons test, which I believe will be conducted eventually," Park said. "She blames South Korea and the U.S. for escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula in a bid to justify North Korea's weapons tests."

It is also important, he added, to note that the ministry announced the details of the "Audacious Initiative," the road map by the Yoon administration to the denuclearization of North Korea, just two days ago and offered North Korea a partial lifting of sanctions only if it resumes peace talks "with sincerity."

Since Kim Yo-jong dismissed the proposal as a "vain dream" in August, North Korea has not shown any other reactions.



Jung Min-ho mj6c2@koreatimes.co.kr


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