North Korea tells South Korean president to ‘shut up’ after aid offer

SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said Friday the South Korean president should “shut up” after reiterating his country’s readiness to provide economic aid. in exchange for nuclear disarmament.

Her comments mark the first time a senior North Korean official has commented directly on what South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has called a “daring” plan — first proposed in May and discussed again at a news conference on Wednesday. on the occasion of his first 100 days in office.

“It would have been more beneficial to his image to keep his mouth shut, rather than talk nonsense, as he had nothing better to say,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement from the state news agency KCNA, calling Yoon “very simple and still called childish”. “to think he could trade economic cooperation for the honor of the North and nuclear weapons.

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“No one trades their lot for corn cake,” she added.

South Korea’s unification minister, who is in charge of relations with the North, called Kim’s comments “extremely disrespectful and indecent.”

While Yoon has said he is ready to provide phased economic aid to North Korea if it ends nuclear weapons development and begins denuclearization, he has also urged South Korea’s military deterrent to North Korea. increase. South Korea has resumed long-suspended joint exercises with the United States, including major field exercises starting next week.

On Wednesday, a US State Department spokesman said Washington supports Yoon’s policies, but Kim said the joint exercises show the allies’ talk about diplomacy is disingenuous.

“We’re making it clear that we won’t be face to face with him,” she said of Yoon.

Kim Yo Jong has become an outspoken critic of South Korea in recent years, seen by some pundits as a “bad cop” for her brother’s more subdued statements.

Friday’s statement is her worst personal attack on Yoon yet, but this month she also released a blasphemy blaming the South for a COVID-19 outbreak in the North and threatening “deadly retaliation” if there was any threat. more events would take place.

Experts say the South’s latest economic plan is similar to proposals from previous leaders, including those made during the summits between then-US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

“Yoon’s initiative adds to a long list of failed offers with South Korean promises to provide economic benefits to North Korea…These were the same assumptions underlying a succession of failed attempts to initiate denuclearization talks. bring,” Scott Snyder, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said in a blog post Thursday.

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

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Reporting by Joori Roh; Additional reporting by Josh Smith and Soo-hyang Choi; Editing by Richard Pullin and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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