North Korea warns US not to ‘cause a stink’ before Seoul meeting

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — In North Korea’s first comments directed at the Biden administration, Kim Jong-un’s powerful sister yesterday warned the United States (US) to “refrain from causing a stink” if it wants to “sleep in peace” for the next four years.

Kim Yo Jong’s statement was issued as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin arrived in Asia to talk with US allies Japan and South Korea about North Korea and other regional issues. They had meetings in Tokyo yesterday before speaking to officials in Seoul today.

“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off (gun) powder smell in our land,” she said. “If it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”

Kim Yo Jong, a senior official who handles inter-Korean affairs, also criticised the US and South Korea for holding military exercises. She also said the North would consider abandoning a 2018 bilateral agreement on reducing military tensions and abolish a decades-old ruling party unit tasked to handle inter-Korean relations if it no longer had to cooperate with the South.

She said the North would also consider scrapping an office that handled South Korean tours to the North’s scenic Diamond Mountain, which Seoul suspended in 2008 after a North Korean guard fatally shot a South Korean tourist.

The North “will watch the future attitude and actions of the (South Korean) authorities”, before determining whether to take exceptional measures against its rival, she said in her statement published in Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper.