North Korea tells South Korean president to ‘close his mouth’ after offering help – Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) – Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said in North Korea on Friday that South Korea’s president should “shut his mouth” after repeating that his country was ready to provide economic aid in return. nuclear disarmament.

Her comments are the first time a senior North Korean official has commented directly on what South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol has called the “bold” plan – which was first proposed in May and which he spoke about again Wednesday at a news conference marking his announcement. The first 100 days in office.

“It would have been better for his picture to shut his mouth, instead of talking nonsense because he has nothing better to say,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement released by the Korean Central News Agency, describing Yoon as “really simple and still childish.” “Thinking he could trade economic cooperation for North Korea’s honor and nuclear weapons.

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“No one can mistake her for the cornbread,” she added.

South Korea’s Unification Minister, who handles relations with North Korea, called Kim’s comments “extremely disrespectful and inappropriate.”

While Yoon said he is ready to provide interim economic assistance to North Korea if it ends its nuclear weapons development and begins denuclearization, he has also pushed for increased South Korea’s military deterrence against North Korea. South Korea has resumed long-suspended joint exercises with the United States, including major field exercises scheduled to begin next week.

A US State Department spokesman said on Wednesday that Washington supports Yun’s policies, but Kim said the joint exercises show that the allies’ talk of diplomacy is insincere.

“We’ve made it clear that we’re not going to sit face to face with him,” she said of Yoon.

Kim Yo Jong has become an outspoken critic of South Korea in recent years, with some experts seeing her as playing the “bad cop” in her brother’s quieter statements.

Friday’s statement is her harshest personal attack on Yoon yet, but this month she also released a swearword-filled sermon that blamed the South for the COVID-19 outbreak in the North and threatened “mortal retaliation” if there were more incidents.

Experts say the latest economic plan for the South is similar to proposals by previous leaders, including those held during summits between then-US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

“Yon’s initiative adds to a long list of failed offers that include promises from South Korea to provide economic benefits to North Korea… These were the same assumptions that were behind a series of failed efforts to start denuclearization talks,” said Scott Snyder, a senior fellow at Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, in a blog Thursday.

North Korea tested two cruise missiles into the sea on Wednesday, the first such test in two months. This came after the country declared victory over COVID-19 last week. Read more

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(Report: Gauri Roh). Additional reporting by Josh Smith and Su Hyang Choi. Editing by Richard Boleyn and Edwina Gibbs

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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