North Korea complains about ‘stink’ of U.S.-South Korea military exercises

Thursday, 18 Mar, 2021

Kim Jong Un's sister has criticised the United States and South Korea for holding military exercises in North Korea's first comments towards Joe Biden's administration.

The statement was released after talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and the two nations' defense ministers, Lloyd Austin and Nobuo Kishi. "But to date we have not received any response", White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

In his one-on-one talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday, Blinken accused North Korea of "systemic and widespread abuses" against its own people and vowed to work closely with allies for the denuclearization of the North.

Mr Biden has already announced a policy review on North Korea, which is expected to be unveiled next month.

"Will continue to ignore such attempts by USA in future", North Korean minister said. The North will also consider dissolving the office that was in charge of South Korean tours to the North's scenic Kumgangsan.

Trump's unorthodox approach to foreign policy saw him trade insults and threats of war with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before an extraordinary diplomatic bromance that saw a series of headline-grabbing meetings, beginning in Singapore.

Activists say North Korea's human rights record was overlooked under former U.S. president Donald Trump, who held unprecedented summits and boasted of rapport with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "If it wants to sleep in peace for (the) coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step".

Kim also raised the issue of inter-Korean cooperation at Mount Kumgang resort in her statement.

When asked about Kim Yo Jong's statement, Blinken told a briefing in Tokyo that he was aware of her comments, but that he was more interested in hearing what America's allies and partners think about North Korea.

North Korea was also in sharp focus after the White House said Pyongyang had so far rebuffed efforts to engage in dialogue.

North Korea have sent their first public message to Washington since President Joe Biden took office in January. On multiple occasions, in testimony, statements or briefings, United States officials have said their goal is "the complete denuclearization of North Korea".

The new United States administration is expected to wrap up a review of North Korea policy in coming weeks.

Choe said it will "only be a waste of time to sit with the USA".

"The wording of this statement is surprising in its strength, particularly from Japan's perspective as Tokyo generally prefers to take a more delicate or diplomatic approach", Go Ito, a professor of global relations at Tokyo's Meiji University, told DW.

South Korea has faced global scrutiny after supporting a new law banning the launching of anti-Kim leaflets into the North and cancelling licenses of some defector groups that had led the campaign. However, Kim criticized Seoul and Washington's argument that the combined exercise was "reduced" in size and noted that the North opposes the joint military drills in itself and "never argued about their scale or form".

But the keeping the door open for dialogue with Beijing.

The last step, according to Kim Yo Jong, would be to annul the historic North-South military agreement of 2018. But its economy is heavily dependent on trade with China, making it hard to take any step deemed provocative to its biggest trading partner. Suh said the ongoing exercises with the United States are for defense purposes, News 1 reported.

The warning message took issue with the United States and South Korea's joint military drills, which began March 8, the Japan Times reports.

China has called the Quad an attempt to contain its ambitions. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights.

A USA official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that while there have been indications in recent weeks that North Korea may be preparing for a missile launch, one did not appear imminent.