Kim Yo Jong criticizes US-South Korean military drills

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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Kim Yo Jong in 2018.
Image: Kim Jinseok.

On Monday, Kim Yo Jong, vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, warned the United States and South Korea as a reaction to the joint military drills conducted by the US and South Korea.

In a statement released by the Rodong Sinmun, Kim Yo Jong said: "The peaceful spring days of three years ago are unlikely to return". Arirang News asserted the "peaceful spring" refers to the inter-Korean meetings held in April 2018.

Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean president Moon Jae In (right) during the 2018 inter-Korean summit.
Image: Blue House.

In her statement, Kim described 'the south Korean authorities' as "all born with stupidity" and "become the dumb and deaf bereft of judgment". In response to the drills — which the North Korean government reportedly perceived as a threat — Kim expressed the possibility of closing various inter-Korean organizations like the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country and the Kumgangsan International Tourism Bureau. "We also examine the issue of dissolving the Kumgangsan International Tourism Bureau and other organizations concerned as any cooperation and exchange with the south Korean authorities antagonizing us are no longer necessary", Kim said.

Towards the end of the statement, Kim said, "If it [the United States] wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step."

Speaking to Arirang News, Yang Moo-Jin, the vice president for public affairs at the University of North Korean Studies, said the message indicates "the regime is willing to talk [...] as long as the South [Korean authorities] show some sincerity by not raising tensions through the joint drills". Lim Eul-chul, a professor of North Korean studies at the Kyungnam University, said the North "is reaffirming its long-held stance that there will be no talks unless sanctions against the regime are lifted". In an interview with Arirang News, Andrei Lankov, the director of the Korea Risk Group, said the message is nothing out of the ordinary, and similar messages have been coming each spring and the contents of this message are not to be overestimated. He qualified the statement as being "business as usual" and "by the North Korean standards it's pretty tame".


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