The North Korean government today issued an ultimatum to South Korea over anti-Pyongyang leaflets being airdropped into the country. North Korea threatened to end the military pact signed in 2018 if the leaflet operations did not stop.
Kim Yo Jong, the heir apparent to her brother Kim Jong-un’s in the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (DPRK), issued the stern warning to Seoul and threatened them with severe consequences.
“If such an act of evil intention committed before our eyes is left to take its own course under the pretext of ‘freedom of individuals’ and ‘freedom of expression’, the South Korean authorities must face the worst phase shortly,” said Yo Jong in a statement to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
The divided Koreas signed a military pact in 2018 to prevent military confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. Defectors from North Korea and many activists have in the last few weeks used balloons to fly leaflets that condemn Kim Jong Un over his nuclear ambitions and suppression of human rights.
Due to the ‘leaflet campaign’, Yo-Yong has said the pact is “hardly of any value.”
Yo Yong also said the North could permanently shut a liaison office with the South and an inter-Korean industrial park in the border town of Kaesong, thus endangering the reconciliation efforts between the South and the North.
Responding to the North Korean statement, a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, called for a halt to the leaflet operations. Ministry spokesman, Yoh Sang, said that such operations increase tensions with Pyongyang and cause environmental damage and endanger private property.
Ms Yong has seen a meteoric rise within the North Korean government in the last couple of years. She was number two in command at a historic meeting between the USA and North Korea, serves as her brother’s spokesman, chief of staff, national security adviser and much like her family, does not mince her words.
Yong Yo became a prominent topic of discussion among experts around the world as speculations arose about Kim’s death. While Many see her succeeding the family throne, others believe that patriarchal elites would find it hard to accept a female leader.