Kim’s sister’s first official remarks hint at elevated status

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — In her first known official statement, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un levelled diatribes and insults against rival South Korea for protesting her country’s latest live-fire exercises.

Kim Yo-jong is in charge of propaganda affairs for North Korea and has frequently appeared at her brother’s major public events including summits with United States (US) President Donald Trump and other regional leaders.

But her statement carried by state media was the first of its kind and indicated a further elevation of her political status.

In the statement issued on Tuesday night, she criticised South Korea’s Presidential Blue House for expressing strong concerns over the North’s firing drills and urging it to stop acts that don’t help reduce military animosities.

“As far as I know, the South side is also fond of joint military exercises and it is preoccupied with all the acts such as purchasing ultra-modern military hardware,” Kim Yo-jong said. “They meant they need to get militarily prepared but we should be discouraged from military exercises. Such an assertion can never be expected from those with normal way of thinking.”

Describing the Blue House as “a mere child” and “a burnt child dreading fire”, she questioned how its words and actions could be “so perfectly foolish in detail”.

Kim Yo-jong didn’t name liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whom she has met several times. She only said, “The South side’s response is so regretful and disappointing but it is somewhat fortunate that it was not direct statement of the President.”

South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said yesterday it has no specific comment on Kim Yo-jong’s statement. But spokesman Yoh Sang-key said the two Koreas should maintain mutual respect while working toward establishing a peace on the Korean Peninsula.