San Francisco Chronicle
Kim Jong Un’s sister warns of ‘destruction’
SEOUL — The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday criticized South Korea’s president and threatened a “complete destruction” of bilateral relations after both countries tested ballistic missiles hours apart.
The launches of missiles underscored a return of tensions between the rivals at a time when talks aimed at stripping North Korea of its nuclear program are stalled.
Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, criticized South Korean President Moon Jae-in for comments he made while observing his country’s missile tests, including its first of a submarinelaunched ballistic missile. Moon said South Korea’s growing missile capabilities will serve as a “sure deterrence” against North Korean provocations.
The tests came hours after the South Korean and Japanese militaries said North Korea had fired two ballistic missiles into the sea.
In a statement carried by state media, Kim berated Moon for describing North Korean weapons demonstrations as a provocation, and warned of a “complete destruction” of bilateral relations if he continues with what she described as slander of North Korea.
She said North Korea is developing its military capabilities for self-defense without targeting a specific country, and that South Korea is also increasing its military capabilities. North Korea has often accused the South of hypocrisy for introducing modern weapons while calling for talks on easing tensions between the divided countries.
“If the president joins in the slander and detraction (against us), this will be followed by counter actions, and the North-South relations will be pushed toward a complete destruction,” she said. “We do not want that.”
The South Korean and Japanese militaries said the two short-range ballistic missiles fired by North Korea flew 500 miles before landing in the sea inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone — a worrying development even though they did not reach Japanese territorial waters. The last time a North Korean missile landed inside that zone was in October 2019.
The launches came two days after North Korea said it fired a newly developed cruise missile, its first known missile test in six months.
Hours after the latest North Korean launches, South Korea reported its first test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile.
Experts say North Korea is building up its weapons systems to apply pressure on the United States in the hopes of winning relief from economic sanctions aimed at forcing the North to abandon its nuclear arsenal.
U.S.-led talks on the issue have been stalled for more than two years.