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The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called the South Korean defense minister a ‘scum guy’ for talking about preemptive strikes on the North, warning that the South could face ‘a serious threat “.

Kim Yo-jong’s statement on Sunday came amid heightened tensions between rival Koreas over the North’s series of weapons tests this year, including its first intercontinental ballistic missile launch in more than four years.

The ICBM test that broke North Korea’s four-year moratorium on heavy weapons testing was a huge embarrassment to liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who did everything possible to reach a greater reconciliation between countries and finding a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis. crisis.

During a visit to the country’s Strategic Missile Command on Friday, South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook said his country has the ability and the will to launch precision strikes on North Korea if it detects that the North intends to fire missiles against its neighbor. Seoul has long maintained such a preemptive military strategy to deal with growing missile and nuclear threats from North Korea, but it was still highly unusual for a senior Seoul official under the Moon administration to publicly discuss such a possibility. .

On Sunday, Kim Yo-jong delivered scathing rhetoric at Suh and threats towards Seoul.

“The foolish, scum-like guy dares to mention a preemptive strike against a nuclear-weapon state,” Kim Yo-jong said in a statement carried by state media. “South Korea could face a serious threat due to the reckless words of its defense minister.”

“South Korea should discipline itself if it wants to avoid disaster,” she added.

Kim Yo-jong, a senior official of the ruling Workers’ Party in the north, is in charge of relations with Seoul and Washington. South Korean spy services say she is the second-highest North Korean official behind her brother.

Pak Jong Chon, secretary of the Workers’ Party central committee, separately warned that “any slight misjudgment and misstatement rattling the other side in the current situation” could trigger “a dangerous conflict and an all-out war”.

Pak said North Korea “will ruthlessly direct military force to destroy major targets in Seoul and the South Korean military” if South Korea preemptively attacks North Korea.

Relations between the Koreas briefly blossomed in 2018 after North Korea abruptly reached out to South Korea and the United States and expressed its willingness to put its nuclear program on the negotiating table. At the time, Kim Yo-jong traveled to South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and conveyed his brother’s invitation to Moon to visit the North. Kim Jong-un and Moon finally met three times in 2018.

But North Korea turned a colder shoulder to the moon and severed ties with South Korea after its wider diplomacy with the United States collapsed in 2019 over disputes over economic sanctions led by the United States against the North.

The United States has urged North Korea to resume talks without preconditions, but the North has rejected such an overture, saying the United States must first drop its hostility towards it. Kim Jong-un has repeatedly promised to expand his nuclear arsenal as the diplomatic standoff with Washington continues.

Some experts say the North’s recent missile tests were aimed at perfecting its weapons technology, boosting its influence in future negotiations with the United States and securing stronger internal loyalty. They say North Korea could soon conduct another ICBM launch, a satellite-carrying rocket launch or a test of a nuclear device in the coming weeks.

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