Kim Jong Un’s sister said North Korea would respond in ‘direct proportion’ to her country’s enemies – the US and South Korea.
North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, has warned that her country will stage more displays of military might in response to a new agreement between South Korea and the United States to intensify nuclear deterrence to counter threats from Pyongyang.
The agreement reached this week between Washington and Seoul to shore up South Korean nuclear security will only worsen the situation and demonstrates “extreme” hostility towards North Korea, Kim Yo Jong said, according to a report in state media on Saturday.
North Korea is now convinced it must further perfect a “nuclear war deterrent“, Kim Yo Jong said, according to comments published by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“The more the enemies are dead set on staging nuclear war exercises and the more nuclear assets they deploy in the vicinity of the Korean peninsula, the stronger the exercise of our right to self-defence will become in direct proportion to them,” she said, according to KCNA.
The US-South Korea agreement will “only result in making peace and security of Northeast Asia and the world be exposed to more serious danger, and it is an act that can thus never be welcome”, she said.
Kim Yo Jong also blasted US President Joe Biden over his warning that North Korean nuclear aggression would result in the end of the Kim regime, describing the US leader as being “too miscalculating and irresponsibly brave”.
North Korea would not simply dismiss Biden’s words as a “nonsensical remark from the person in his dotage”, she added.
“When we consider that this expression was personally used by the president of the US, our most hostile adversary, it is threatening rhetoric for which he should be prepared for far too great an after-storm.”
Kim Yo Jong did not specify exactly what actions North Korea is planning to take.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol and Biden this week issued what was titled the Washington Declaration, bolstering the US nuclear umbrella over South Korea, which is increasingly nervous about Pyongyang’s aggression. The declaration involves “regular deployment of strategic assets”, including the first South Korean port visit by a US nuclear ballistic submarine in decades, a Washington official told the AFP news agency this week.
There are no plans to station US nuclear weapons in South Korea.
Biden’s meeting with Yoon in Washington, DC came amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula as the pace of North Korean weapons demonstrations and combined US-South Korean military exercises have increased in a cycle of tit-for-tat over the past year.
South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported on Saturday that Kim Yo Jong – who has a reputation for influencing “inter-Korean affairs in the Kim regime” in her position as vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea – also called the South Korean president a “fool” who had put security in “crisis with his incompetence”.
Since the start of 2022, North Korea has test-fired around 100 missiles, including multiple demonstrations of intercontinental ballistic missiles and a slew of short-range launches the North described as simulated nuclear strikes on South Korea.
Leader Kim Jong Un is widely expected to up the ante in coming weeks or months as he continues to accelerate a campaign aimed at cementing his country’s status as a nuclear power.
North Korea has defied years of punishing sanctions to continue work on its banned nuclear and missile programmes. It has also indicated it will not consider giving up weapons it views as insurance against regime change by a hostile US and its ally Seoul.
South Korea’s unification ministry, which is responsible for intern-Korean affairs, criticised Kim Yo Jong’s comments, saying that her “rude language” demonstrated the “lowly level” of the regime in North Korea, Yonhap reported.