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North Korea threatens retaliation after South Korean official’s ‘pre-emptive strike’ comment


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North Korea is not happy with a comment made by a senior South Korean official and warned the country could face a “serious threat”, an official said.

Kim Yo Jong, the authoritarian sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, pushed back against South Korea’s defense minister, who said his country could launch a preemptive strike on its northern neighbors, calling it “a kind of scum”.

“This insane, scum-like guy dares to mention a ‘pre-emptive strike’ on a nuclear-weapon state,” Kim told state media.

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She also warned that South Korea could face retaliation as South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook boasted on Friday that his country could launch precision strikes on North Korea if his country thought there was an imminent missile strike.

FILE – Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath laying ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP, File )

“South Korea could face a serious threat due to the reckless remarks of its defense minister,” she added. “South Korea should discipline itself if it wants to avoid disaster.”

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Wook’s comment in question came amid missile test launches from North Korea and is particularly unusual as South Korean President Moon Jae-in pushes for reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea threatens retaliation after South Korean official’s ‘pre-emptive strike’ comment

A South Korean train runs on the railway line, which the two Koreas eventually hope to use as an international transport link, near North Korea’s border village of Panmunjom, in Paju, South Korea, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. ( AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Pak Jong Chon, a North Korean government official, also warned that “any slight misjudgment and misstatement rattling the other side in the current situation” could lead to “dangerous conflict and all-out war”.

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North Korea threatens retaliation after South Korean official’s ‘pre-emptive strike’ comment

FILE – In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a soldier stands in front of the Unha-3 rocket at a launch site in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

North Korea “will ruthlessly direct military force to destroy major targets in Seoul and the South Korean military” if a preemptive strike occurs, Pak said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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