Seoul | North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, criticized Seoul’s “treacherous” stance on Tuesday over joint South Korea-US military exercises, warning the two allies that they face serious security threats.
Kim Yo Jong, one of her brother’s closest advisers, denounced the “dangerous” military exercises conducted by Seoul and Washington this month, which Pyongyang considers a repeat of the North’s invasion.
“I take this opportunity to express my deep regret for the perfidious treatment of the South Korean authorities,” she said in a statement issued by the official KCNA news agency.
The South Korean and US militaries began initial exercises on Tuesday ahead of the annual summer exercises next week.
It warned that by carrying out these military exercises, Seoul and Washington “will certainly face greater security threats,” adding that North Korea will enhance its defensive capabilities and preemptive strikes.
Kim Yo Jong’s comments come despite the unexpected warmth on the Korean Peninsula favored by a series of personal messages exchanged between his brother and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The two sides have restored cross-border contacts that had been cut off for more than a year last month, ensuring that the leaders agreed to work on improving their relationship.
Seoul and Washington are treaty allies, with the United States deploying nearly 28,500 troops in South Korea to defend the country against its nuclear-armed neighbor.
They have already scaled back the annual joint military exercises to facilitate nuclear talks with Pyongyang.
South Korean President Moon is credited with negotiating the first-ever summit between North Korea and a current US president, in Singapore in 2018.
But North Korea again cut off contact with Seoul after the failed second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, leaving nuclear talks stalled.
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