Earlier this week North Korea announced it would cut off all government and military communications with the South, also as its foreign ministry declared Pyongyang would “never again” allow President Trump to use ’empty’ dialogue to score political points, suggesting the whole prior year long Trump-Kim bromance is now effectively dead.
And now the increasingly visible and powerful sister of Kim Jong Un has further gone on the offensive by threatening military action against South Korea Saturday.
Kim Yo Jong vowed “We will soon take a next action.” Referencing her brother, she described, “By exercising my power authorized by the Supreme Leader, our Party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” according to KCNA news agency.
“The right to taking the next action against the enemy will be entrusted to the General Staff of our army. Before long, a tragic scene of the useless north-south joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen,” Kim Yo Jong added.
The widely reported “reason” behind the sudden jingoistic stance is related to activists apparently continuing to defy the north in floating anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.
Such activism has been particularly sensitive to the north because it’s driven in many cases by defectors. Lately Pyongyang’s angry rhetoric against South Korea welcoming and hosting such defectors and their political activism has intensified.
But there’s also rising tensions given Seoul’s failed to materialize assurances that Washington would ease sanctions as part of denuclearization talks. This further appears an opportunity for Kim’s increasingly visible and powerful sister to flex her authority over the military and next in line to rule.
THREAD: Kim Yo Jong’s warning this evening is v. worrying.
On Monday I wrote that the DPRK wants to create an inter-Korean crisis.
Well, in two days it’s June 15, the 20th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit.
I strongly suspect something is being timed to coincide.
— Chad O’Carroll (@chadocl) June 13, 2020
Some analysts also believe Kim Jong Un is looking to rapidly manufacture an inter-Korean crisis for much bigger leverage amid stalled and effectively dead talks with the US. Importantly June 15, a mere two days away, will mark the 20th anniversary of the first inter-Korean summit.
Thus we are likely to see some big provocative fireworks in the form of some drastic action or weapon test, sure to re-trigger soaring tensions by Monday.