The powerful sister of the North Korean leader says her country will make more provocative displays of its military might in response to a new agreement between the United States and South Korea to step up nuclear deterrence to counter the North’s nuclear threat, which it says she shows her «extreme» hostility towards North Korea. Pyongyang.
Kim Yo Jong also hurled personal insults at President Joe Biden, who after a summit with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday declared that any North Korean nuclear strike against the United States or its allies «would result in the end of any regime» that it will take. action.
Biden’s meeting with Yoon in Washington came amid heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula, as the pace of North Korean weapons demonstrations and combined US-South Korean military exercises have increased on a tit-for-tat cycle.
Since early 2022, North Korea has tested about 100 missiles, including multiple demonstrations of ICBMs designed to reach the mainland United States and a series of short-range launches that the North described as simulated nuclear strikes against South Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is widely expected to up the ante in the coming weeks or months as he continues to accelerate a campaign aimed at cementing the North’s status as a nuclear power and eventually negotiating US security and economic concessions. from a position of strength.
During their summit, Biden and Yoon announced new nuclear deterrence efforts that call for the regular docking of US nuclear-armed submarines in South Korea for the first time in decades and increased training between the two countries. They also committed to plans for bilateral presidential consultations in the event of a North Korean nuclear attack, the establishment of a nuclear advisory group and better information sharing on strategic and nuclear weapons operational plans.
In his comments published on state media, Kim Yo Jong said the US-South Korea deal reflected the allies’ «most hostile and aggressive will for action» against the North and would push regional peace and security to a «greatest danger».
Kim, who is one of his brother’s top foreign policy officials, said the summit further strengthened the North’s conviction to upgrade its nuclear weapons capability. He said it would be especially important for the North to hone the «second nuclear war deterrence mission,» in an apparent reference to the country’s escalating nuclear doctrine that calls for preemptive nuclear strikes in a wide range of scenarios in which it can perceive its leadership. as threatened.
He lashed out at Biden for his blunt warning that North Korea’s nuclear aggression would spell the end of his regime, calling him senile and «too badly calculating and irresponsibly brave.» However, he said the North would not simply dismiss his words as a «meaningless comment from the person in his dotage.»
“When we consider that this expression was used personally by the president of the US, our most hostile adversary, it is threatening rhetoric that you should be prepared for in too great of a subsequent storm,” he said.
«The more intent the enemies are on staging nuclear war exercises, and the more nuclear assets they deploy in the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula, the stronger the exercise of our right to self-defense will be in direct proportion to them.»
He called Yoon a «fool» for his efforts to strengthen South Korea’s defense alongside its alliance with the United States and bolster the South’s own conventional missile capabilities, saying it was putting its absolute trust in the US. despite receiving only «nominal» promises. instead.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, described his comments as «absurd» and insisted they conveyed the North’s «nervousness and frustration» over allied efforts to strengthen nuclear deterrence.