Kim Jo Yong, the powerful sister of the North Korean leader, has threatened to scrap inter-Korean co-operation as she condemned ongoing military drills between South Korea and the United States, and cautioned the US against “causing a stink” if it wants peace, state media reported on Tuesday, 16 March.
The statement comes a day before America’s top diplomat and defence chief, who are currently in Japan, are scheduled to arrive in Seoul.
“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land, If it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step,” Kim said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.
US secretary of state Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are expected to focus on foreign and security policy during their time in northeast Asia.
North Korea enjoyed a much better relationship with the previous Trump Administration as Trump and Kim met twice and even regularly exchanged letters.
Both sides have not communicated in over a year since then and security experts now believe North Korea is a nuclear-powered nation as the country has been upgrading its nuclear program despite sanctions from the United Nations.
Following the White House’s admission that it has been trying to reach out to North Korea since last month, Kim Yo Jong, who is the country’s second leader has now warned the US.
In Washington, DC, state department spokesman Ned Price said the Biden administration was conducting a “thorough” review of US policy towards North Korea, and that it was continuing to solicit input from Japan and South Korea.
“We’ve listened carefully to their ideas, including through trilateral consultation,” Price said. The review is expected to conclude in a few weeks.
South Korean and American troops began joint military exercises last week, with drills limited to computer simulations because of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the ongoing efforts to engage with the North.
“War drills and hostility can never go with dialogue and cooperation,” state media quoted Kim Yo Jong as saying.
The joint drills have long been a source of anger for Pyongyang and the country called for them to be scrapped at a rare party congress in January.
Kim warned that inter-Korean engagement could be at risk if the South became “more provocative” singling out the inter-Korean military agreement, which was signed in September 2018, as well as a Workers Party body that focuses on improving cross-border cooperation.