Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader’s sister and the vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), condemned the US-South Korean military drills as running contrary to Seoul’s rapprochement efforts and warned Washington not to meddle “if it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years.”
The statement, containing scathing criticism of South Korean government and warnings about possible consequences of the “north-targeted war drumbeats,” was published by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday.
“They staged 110 big or small war drills in 2018, more than 190 in 2019 and over 170 in 2020 for so-and-so reasons in breach of their promise to halt such drills. We have long been aware of it and are ready to make them pay dearly for it at an appropriate time,” Kim Yo Jong said in the statement.
She warned that Pyongyang sees the continuation of drills as crossing the “red line.” In response, North Korea will be halting all cooperation projects, including dissolving the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country and closing down the Kumgangsan International Tourism Bureau.
The last step, according to Kim Yo Jong, would be to annul the historic North-South military agreement of 2018. The decision on this matter would depend on Seoul’s future “attitude” and policies, she stressed.
Kim Yo Jong also mentioned the US and warned it against meddling with inter-Korean relations.
“We take this opportunity to warn the new U.S. 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,” she said.
At the end of the statement, Kim Yo Jong expressed doubts that it would be possible to return back to the relations the North and South had in 2018, as “those warm spring days three years ago, which they desire so much, won’t come easily again.”
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the US had reached out to North Korea but received no response amid policy review. South Korea’s Ministry of Unification reported that Seoul and Washington had been in contact over the issue and held regular consultations.