Kim’s sister says army ready for action on South Korea

SEOUL • The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said it is “high time” to break relations with South Korean authorities, adding the next action against the “enemy” will come from the army.

It’s better to take a series of retaliatory measures rather than release statements condemning South Korea’s behaviour, which could be misinterpreted or dismissed, Kim Yo-jong (picture) said via the official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday.

“Rubbish must be thrown into dustbin. By exercising my power authorised by the Supreme Leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” she said.

Yo-jong’s comments came on the 20th anniversary of the first meeting between top leaders of the divided Koreas. The summit beginning on June 13, 2000, was the biggest moment of then-President Kim Dae-jung’s reconciliation effort that led to stepped-up trade and joint projects and helped earn the South Korean leader the Nobel Peace Prize.

While that “Sunshine Policy” helped cool tensions, it was also criticised for providing North Korean leaders with cash needed to build up its nuclear-weapons program.

The Unification Ministry said in a statement that it’s taking the situation seriously and urged the North to comply with inter-Korean agreements. The Defence Ministry said it’s maintaining firm military readiness, reported Yonhap News.

The latest dust-up was triggered by South Korean activists who sent anti-Pyongyang messages in balloons across the border. North Korea this week cut off communication links set up two years ago with Seoul, which it accused of allowing hostile acts by failing to stop the activists.

North Korea didn’t answer South Korea’s calls made on the military line last Tuesday for the first time since the inter-Korean communication link was restored in 2018.

South Korea said last week it would look to ban anti-North Korea leaflets after a rebuke from Yo-jong. Millions of leaflets have flown across the border for more than a decade bearing messages critical of North Korean leaders, with the latest coming as Jong-un made fewer public appearances over the past several weeks than normal, leading to global speculation about his health. — Bloomberg