Kim Jong-un’s powerful sister made a rare public statement warning new US President Joe Biden not to “cause a stink”.
Through the North Korean state media, Kim Yo-jong criticized the United States and South Korea for conducting joint military exercises across the border on the Korean peninsula.
It threatened to end a military peace deal with the south and to disband a team that is supposed to work with officials in Seoul.
It comes after the Biden administration said it had been trying to start a discussion with Pyongyang for weeks when it set out its policy towards North Korea, which has refused to recognize the Democrats.
After Kim Jong-un was known to have traded insults, he became on friendly terms with the disgraced former President Donald Trump, with the couple setting foot in North Korea during one of their three meetings.
Kim and Biden’s relationship is unlikely to be this warm – the president called the dictator a “thug” in last year’s election campaign.
In North Korea’s first public embassy to Washington since Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, Kim Yo-jong, one of her brother’s closest advisers, was the secret state’s latest threat to America.
Despite their increasing influence, there has been speculation about their status and whether there was a power struggle in Pyongyang.
A day before senior US officials came to Seoul for talks, she warned Washington that the smell of cordite wafting across the border from joint military exercises would not help bring peace.
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Kim Yo-jong, who is believed to be 33, said: “We are taking this opportunity to warn the new US administration that is trying to get rid of the powder smell in our country.
“If it wants to sleep in peace for the next four years, it would be better to refrain from causing a smell the first step.”
It repeated the resistance of the north to the military exercises, which it sees as preparation for an invasion.
Translated in comments by Yonhap News Agency, She said: “South Korea has again chosen ‘March of War’ and ‘March of Crisis’ instead of ‘Warm March’ in front of all Koreans.
“Whatever the South will do by following its Master, it will not be easy that the warm spring days of three years that it strongly desires will return.”
She added, “War exercises and hostilities can never be accompanied by dialogue and cooperation.”
Regarding an agreement signed to ease tension with Seoul, she said: “We will keep an eye on the attitude and behavior of South Korea in the future and should it become more provocative we could take special measures such as a military agreement . “
The Americans and South Koreans’ recent exercise included computer simulations due to the risk of the coronavirus and continued efforts to have a diolog with the North.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is due to visit Seoul with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, told reporters in Tokyo he was aware of Kim Yo-jong’s comments.
He said he was more interested to hear what America’s allies and partners think of North Korea.
The Biden government is formulating its policy towards North Korea and is expected to announce more in the coming weeks.
Blinken said Washington is considering whether additional pressure on North Korea could be effective.
South Korea defended the military exercises.
An official told reporters in Seoul, “The government will endeavor to conduct joint military exercises in a way that will support the peace process (on the Korean peninsula) until the end.
“We will continue to seek talks and cooperation.”
The north is already subject to severe sanctions, most of which affect its nuclear weapons program.
Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a Korea expert at King’s College London, said the north will likely be high on US officials’ agenda when they meet their South Korean counterparts.
He told Reuters: “So far the discussion has centered on The Quad, which dealt with China and the North Korean policy review.
“Kim’s statement will be the focus of the discussions.”
The White House said Pyongyang had refused its attempts to enter into dialogue.
After a third summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea ended talks, saying it would not re-engage until the US dropped its “hostile” policy.
In January, Kim’s sister’s name was missing from a new list from the ruling Labor Party’s Politburo, raising questions about her status after several years of increasing influence.
It came when Kim cemented his power at a congress with his election as general secretary of the party, taking the title from his late father, Kim Jong Il.
Since taking office after his father’s death in 2011, he has exercised near-absolute power in North Korea’s dynasty system.