The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un admonished South Korea and threatened to pull out of an inter-Korean accord,
Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister and confidante of the North Korean leader took issue with a South Korea-based group sending anti-regime leaflets over the border, calling it a hostile act.
In a Thursday state media report, the sister warned South Korean officials that if they didn’t block future attempts at such information spreading, they "will be forced to pay a dear price."
What does she mean by the dear price, but more importantly, why the announcement now and why the statement by Kim Yo-jong?
How plausible is the South's plans to make new laws banning South Korean groups from sending such leaflets across the border?
It's the topic of our News In-Depth tonight with Go Myong-hyun, Research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
Myong-hyun, welcome back to the program.
The first thing that strikes me is that this blasting statement came not from Kim Jong-un or any other from the North Korean leadership, but the sister, Kim Yo-jong.
Can this be seen as the latest sign of her growing profile inside the cloistered regime? Or is there a certain reason why SHE had to make this statement and not anyone else?
This isn't the first time that the North and South have had to deal with these propaganda leaflets being flown over the border. Why the sudden outblast now?
Kim Yo-jong warned that the North could pull out of a 2018 agreement with South Korea where both sides agreed to tone down military tensions AND back away from an inter-Korean industrial park and liaison office. This despite Seoul's frequent attempts to re-engage over health care, tourism, railways and family reunions. What kind of a message is the North trying to send here?
The North's missive drew a swift reaction from the officials in Seoul.
Within hours, South Korea pledged to pursue legislation that would ban sending anti-regime leaflets.
The cross-border balloon launches have been a sore point for a long time between the two Koreas. First of all, who are the people flying these balloons with anti-North Korea leaflets?
Balloon senders in Seoul say this violates the freedom of speech guaranteed in a democracy.
How do you foresee this developing?
The North has been rather non-responsive to South Korea's attempts of peace talks. How do you think the recent development projects on the inter-Korean relations will fare in the upcoming days?
On the topic of international relations, North Korea has also made its stance on the continuing U.S.-China tensions, with the North Korea's ruling Workers’ Party saying that
President Trump viciously slandering the leadership of the Communist Party of China over socialism cannot be overlooked.
The U.S. - North Korea relationship has been chilling in recent past and it seems to be growing colder as the U.S.-China tensions intensify. What can we make of this, and how will it affect South Korea?
Go Myong-hyun, Research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, many thanks as always for your insights. We appreciate it.