Emergency meeting held in South Korea after Kim Jong Un's sister threatens military action
South Korea convened an emergency security meeting on Sunday after the North Korean leader's sister threatened with military measures against South Korea in the recent escalation of tensions between the two neighbors.
Kim Yo Jong, a trusted advisor to her brother, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, said she will be given the right to leave the next step in retaliation against South Korea to the North Korean military, a statement released by the KCNA state news agency on Saturday.
Kim, who has taken on a new meaning in the power structure of North Korea, did not specify what the next measure might look like or exactly when it should be taken, but added: “I think it is high time to break with the South Korean authorities safely . We will take the next action soon. "
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A spokesman for The Blue House, South Korea's presidential office, said Sunday that the country's national security council held an emergency video conference to review the situation on the Korean peninsula and discuss how best to respond.
The Ministry of Unification, which governs relations with North Korea, said in a statement that South and North Korea must do their best to comply with all inter-Korean agreements.
Image: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, speaks with his sister Kim Yo Jong during a parade marking the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding in Pyongyang, North Korea (Minoru Iwasaki / AP).
The South Korean Ministry of Defense said separately that it had seriously assessed the situation and carefully monitored the North Korean movements. "The South Korean military remains committed to responding to all situations," the ministry statement said.
Kim's statement on Saturday followed her announcement earlier this week that North Korea would cut all communications with South Korea. Analysts believe this could be an attempt to create a crisis and force concessions from his neighbor.
North Korea said it was upset about defectors who fled south and routinely flying balloons with propaganda leaflets across the border.
South Korea replied that it would take legal action against two organizations that are carrying out such operations.
Kim Jin Ah, a North Korean expert at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyzes, a state research center in Seoul, said North Korea is using propaganda leaflets as an excuse to break the slack in its negotiations with the United States.
Nuclear talks with Washington are stuck after Kim Jong Un's last summit with President Donald Trump collapsed in 2019 without agreement, and North Korea desperately needs help in the face of U.S.-led sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.
"North Korea is using South Korea as a scapegoat and stepping stone to create the context and momentum for its engagement in the United States, as North Korea's ultimate strategic goal attracts the attention of the United States, and particularly President Trump," said Kim.
Kim Jong Un's struggle against economic problems was probably set back when the coronavirus pandemic forced North Korea to close its border with China, its largest trading partner.
North Korea says it hasn't reported a single outbreak, but foreign experts have questioned the claim.
Ramon Pacheco Pardo, a lecturer in international relations at King's College London, said it was sensible from a North Korean perspective that the regime tried to distract the situation from internal conditions by exacerbating tensions with South Korea.
“It makes sense for Kim Yo Jong to face these increasing tensions or to be seen as a leader. In this way, she can show that she will deal hard with South Korea if necessary, "he said.
Pacheco Pardo said the increase in tensions is also a way for North Korea to force the South Korean government to put pressure on the Trump administration to allow sanctions exemptions or even relief.
"It makes sense for North Korea to focus on increasing tensions with South Korea, at least until we know the outcome of the November election in the United States and can see what kind of dynamic relationship Washington and Pyongyang will have next year ", he added.
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