In this photo released on Aug. 14, 2022 by the North Korean government, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, delivers a speech during the national meeting against the coronavirus in Pyongyang, North Korea.
Source: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP advertising
Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the main voice on inter-Korean relations, criticized the South Korean foreign ministry’s announcement on Thursday that it would review its “independent measures”.
“As soon as the US started talking about its ‘independent sanctions’ against the DPRK, South Korea parroted what the former said. This disgusting act shows more clearly that the South Korean group is a “loyal dog” and henchman of the US,” Kim said in her statement, which was published by the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA), one of the North’s main state-controlled media outlets . (DRPK is an acronym of the North’s official name: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.)
That statement came two days after KCNA released another statement by Kim criticizing the UN Security Council for holding a meeting to discuss testing her country’s Hwasong-17 ICBM.
In recent weeks, North Korea has fired dozens of ballistic missiles, including its latest Hwasong-17 ICBM, and hundreds of artillery shells in response to joint South-US military exercises
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After the North launched a Hwasong-17 ICBM on November 18, a UN Security Council meeting was held on November 21 at the request of the United States. However, as China and Russia, also permanent members of the Security Council, stressed to stay away from US military involvement in the exercises with the South and Japan as the main cause of escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula, no additional sanctions were discussed at the meeting, which prompted North to make room to increase its influence in the region with the support of China and Russia.
“If the master and the servant still abide by the useless ‘sanctions,’ we will make them do it a hundred or a thousand times,” Kim said. The Lord and the Servant were references to the US and the South, respectively.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said the US would propose “a presidential statement.” The Chinese and Russian vetoes in the Security Council reduce the scale of the international response and also reduce the deterrent value of international censorship.
As the North’s seventh nuclear test looms, South Korea has warned it could impose “independent sanctions” on the North. The Southern Intelligence Agency previously speculated that the North’s nuclear test could take place sometime between October 16 and November 7, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the North has focused on firing dozens of ballistic missiles and hundreds of artillery shells in recent weeks. Now the expected timeline for the North’s next nuclear test has been pushed back to March 2023, but it’s still unclear exactly when Kim Jong Un will order the test.
With the UN Security Council not united enough to punish the North for its missile launches, South Korea has shown its willingness to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the US to address North Korea’s problems. At this stage, the imposition of independent sanctions against the North’s illegal cyber activities related to cryptocurrency theft is currently on the table. However, since North Korea has already been the target of devastating US and UN economic sanctions, it is questionable how the South’s “independent sanctions” could be effective enough to persuade the North to move from nuclear development to denuclearization.
“If you think you can escape the current dangerous situation through ‘sanctions,’ you really must be idiots as you don’t know how to live in peace and comfort,” Kim said.
Days after South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol proposed his “bold initiative,” an economic package aimed at pushing the North toward denuclearization, Kim Yo Jong condemned his plan, saying it was just “a copy” of the Former President Lee Myung-bak’s “Vision 3000: Denuclearization and Openness.” This criticism has also been voiced by experts, as Yoon’s plan can only go ahead if the North shows its “will” or takes steps towards denuclearization – which is already in proved to be a “mission impossible” in the past decades.
“I wonder why the South Korean people still remain a passive spectator of such actions by Yoon Suk-yeol’s ‘government’ and other idiots who continue to create a dangerous situation,” Kim said. Unlike the crude English version of her statement, Kim did not use the term “government” in the Korean version of the statement. “Idiots” quite unnaturally referred directly to Yoon in their explanation in Korean. The Seoul Ministry of Unification expressed deep regret and condemned the North’s attempt to launch an anti-government campaign in the South.
Following Kim’s statement disparaging Yoon and his political initiative in August, this was her second rude statement on Yoon, showing Pyongyang’s firm stance that it will not cooperate with the Yoon government. In Kim’s previous statement in August, she compared Yoon to a “scoundrel” and specifically mocked him, saying that “we don’t like Yoon Suk-yeol ourselves.”
With Pyongyang’s continued vilification of Yoon, Kim also hinted that Seoul is now Pyongyang’s target, warning that “the desperate sanctions and pressure exerted by the US and its South Korean stooges against the DPRK is fueling their hostility and anger and serving them.” become a snare for them.”
As Pyongyang has signaled more provocative measures towards Seoul and Washington, tensions on the Korean peninsula are likely to continue to escalate with no room for a resumption of stalled inter-Korean dialogue and North Korea-US nuclear talks.