North Korean leader's sister slams US as Biden envoys begin Asia trip

Agence France-Presse
North Korean leader's sister slams US as Biden envoys begin Asia trip
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, attends wreath laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, March 2, 2019.
AFP / Jorge Silva, Pool

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's influential sister slammed the US and South Korea on Tuesday, state media reported, as the new US secretaries of state and defence began a visit to Tokyo and Seoul.

The US and South began joint military exercises last week and Pyongyang's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried a statement from Kim Yo Jong offering "a word of advice to the new administration of the United States that is struggling to spread the smell of gunpowder on our land from across the ocean".

"If you wish to sleep well for the next four years, it would be better not to create work from the start that will make you lose sleep," she said.

It is the first explicit reference by the nuclear-armed North to a new president in Washington, more than four months after Joe Biden was elected to replace Donald Trump — although it still did not mention the Democrat by name.

Trump's unorthodox approach to foreign policy saw him trade insults and threats of war with Kim Jong Un before an extraordinary diplomatic bromance that saw a series of summits. 

But ultimately the relationship made no progress towards the denuclearisation of the North, which is under multiple international sanctions for its banned weapons programmes.

The talks process was brokered by the South's President Moon Jae-in but relations between Seoul and Pyongyang have been in the deep freeze since Kim and Trump's summit in Hanoi collapsed in February 2019.

Kim Yo Jong is a trusted adviser to her brother and was a key voice when inter-Korean tensions mounted last year, culminating in the North blowing up a liaison office on its side of the border.

Seoul and Washington are treaty allies, with the US stationing around 28,500 troops in the South to defend it against its neighbour, and they began computer-simulated joint military exercises last week.

The North always condemns such drills as preparations for invasion, and in her statement, Kim Yo Jong said: "The South Korean government yet again chose the 'March of War', the 'March of Crisis' rather than a 'warm March'' before all the people."

"It will not be easy for the warm spring days of three years ago to come back if the South Korean government follows whatever instructions of its master," she added, threatening to scrap a North-South military agreement if Seoul acts "more

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: August 10, 2021 - 9:27am

The United States formally concluded that North Korea ordered the murder of Kim Jong-Nam, a half-brother and potential rival to ruler Kim Jong-Un, with the VX nerve agent.

"This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we cannot afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The finding triggered another layer of US economic sanctions against Pyongyang, just as South Korea reported that the regime is ready for talks to end a nuclear standoff.

August 10, 2021 - 9:27am

The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calls Seoul authorities "treacherous" Tuesday over the South's joint military exercises with the United States, warning the two allies would face greater security threats as a result.

Kim Yo Jong — a key adviser to her brother — says the South was "treacherous" for holding "dangerous" joint military drills with Washington this month, which the North has long considered rehearsals for invasion.

"I take this opportunity to express my strong regret for the treacherous treatment of the South Korean authorities," she says in a statement released by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency. — AFP

June 22, 2021 - 2:21pm

The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says Tuesday that Washington had "wrong" expectations for dialogue with Pyongyang and was facing "greater disappointment", state media reports. 

Kim Yo Jong — a key adviser to her brother — appears to dismiss the prospects for an early resumption of negotiations.

The US seemed to be seeking "comfort for itself", she says in a statement reported by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency.

It harboured expectations "the wrong way", she adds, which would "plunge them into a greater disappointment". —  AFP

June 21, 2021 - 2:25pm

The US special representative for North Korea on Monday offered to meet with Pyongyang "anywhere, anytime, without preconditions", with no public contact so far between the Biden administration and the nuclear-armed nation.

Sung Kim's remarks came after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last week gave his first reaction to Washington's recent review of its approach to his isolated country, saying Pyongyang must prepare for both "dialogue and confrontation".

The Biden administration has previously promised a "practical, calibrated approach", including diplomatic efforts, to persuade the impoverished North to give up its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes. —  AFP

June 18, 2021 - 7:25am

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said his country needs to prepare for "both dialogue and confrontation" with the United States under President Joe Biden, state media reported Friday.

At a plenary meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea on Thursday, Kim outlined his strategy for relations with Washington, and the "policy tendency of the newly emerged US administration", the Korean Central News Agency said.

Kim "stressed the need to get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state" and reliably guarantee a "peaceful environment", KCNA reported.

The North Korean leader "called for sharply and promptly reacting to and coping with the fast-changing situation and concentrating efforts on taking stable control of the situation on the Korean peninsula", the agency said. — AFP

May 4, 2021 - 7:15am

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken asks North Korea to embrace diplomacy as he briefed allies on a new US strategy that stresses low-key progress rather than Donald Trump's pageantry.

In London for the first in-person Group of Seven meetings in two years, Blinken consulted his counterparts from Japan and South Korea on President Joe Biden's fresh approach which has already been denounced by Pyongyang.

"I hope that North Korea will take the opportunity to engage diplomatically and to see if there are ways to move forward toward the objective of complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula," Blinken tells reporters. —  AFP

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