SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hurled a series of insults at South Korea on Thursday, calling its president and his government an “idiot” and a “runaway” as South Korea considered New unilateral sanctions on North Korea, wild dogs gnawing on the bones given by the United States”
Kim Yo-jong’s invective came two days after South Korea’s foreign ministry said it was considering additional sanctions over North Korea’s recent series of missile testsThe ministry said it would also consider taking action on North Korea’s so-called cyber attacks – believed to be a key new source of funding for its weapons program – if North Korea undertakes a major provocation such as a nuclear test.
“I wonder what ‘sanctions’ the South Korean bloc would rudely impose on North Korea, nothing more than a bone-gnawing wild dog given by the US,” Kim Yo-jeong said in a statement released by state media. “What a spectacular sight !”
She called South Korea’s conservative President Yoon Suk-yeol and his government “idiots who continue to create a dangerous situation.” South Korea “was not our target” when Moon Jae-in – a liberal predecessor who sought reconciliation with North Korea – was in power, she added. The comment could be seen as an attempt to stoke anti-Yoon sentiment in South Korea.
“We warn the disrespectful and stupid once again that the desperate sanctions and pressure on (North Korea) by the United States and its South Korean lackeys will intensify the latter’s hostility and anger and will be their noose,” Kim said.
Kim Yo Jong’s official title is vice-minister of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party. But South Korea’s spy agency says she is the second most powerful figure in North Korea after her brother, handling relations with South Korea and the United States.
While this is not the first time Kim Yo Jong has hurled harsh insults at South Korea, given that she is in charge of relations with South Korea and wields some influence over the North Korean military, North Korea is expected to further escalate military tensions on the peninsula, said an analysis by South Korea’s Sejong Institute Teacher Cheong Seong-Chang.
South Korea quickly hit back at Kim Yoon’s insult to Yoon, saying “it is very regrettable that she denounced our head of state with rude, substandard words and failed to show basic decorum”. Seoul’s Unification Ministry said in a statement that it strongly condemned what it called “her impure attempt to instigate anti-government struggles in South Korea and shake our system.”
South Korea imposed sanctions on 15 North Koreans last month and 16 organizations suspected of being involved in illegal activities to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. It was the first time in five years that Seoul imposed unilateral sanctions on North Korea, but experts said they were mostly symbolic because there was little financial exchange between the two countries.
But observers say Seoul’s coordinated efforts with the U.S. and other countries to crack down on North Korea’s allegedly illegal cyber activity could anger the North and hurt the financing of its weapons programme. Earlier this year, a United Nations panel of experts said in a report that North Korea was stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from financial institutions, cryptocurrency companies and exchanges.
Since 2006, North Korea has been subject to 11 rounds of United Nations sanctions for nuclear and missile tests. But the U.N. Security Council failed to adopt new sanctions this year over North Korea’s ban on ballistic missile launches because of North Korea’s objections. The two veto-wielding Security Council members, China and Russia, are locked in a confrontation with the United States.
North Korea is turning to cybercrime and secret ship-to-ship transfers of unauthorized cargo as a way to evade U.N. sanctions, South Korea’s foreign ministry said on Thursday. Spokesman Lim Soosuk said Kim Yo Jong’s strong reaction to South Korea’s review of possible unilateral sanctions proved that North Korea cared deeply about the steps. For the first time in five years, South Korea will consider making North Korea pay for illegal ship-to-ship transfers if the North conducts a nuclear test, he said.
North Korea has repeatedly said U.N. sanctions and regular U.S. military exercises with South Korea are evidence of U.S. hostility toward North Korea. U.S.-led diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program failed in early 2019 amid disagreements over how much sanctions relief the North should receive in exchange for limited steps toward denuclearization.
Kim Yo Jong warned on Tuesday that the United States would face a “more deadly security crisis” as it pushed the United Nations to condemn North Korea’s recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the U.S. mainland. She likened America to “a dog barking out of fear.”
North Korea is notorious for its colorful and brutal personal attacks on South Korean and American leaders. It called former South Korean presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye a “rat” and a “whore” respectively, while describing former U.S. President Donald Trump as a “unhinged American dork”. When Moon Jae-in was still in office in March 2021, Kim Yo Jong called him “the parrot raised by the United States.”