N. Korean Leader's Sister Warns S. Korea-US Drills Will Cloud Inter-Korean Relations
The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned on Sunday that annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States will undermine prospects for inter-Korean relations.
In a statement carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA), Kim Yo-Jong said that North Korea will closely watch whether South Korea will carry out the hostile war drills or make a bold decision.
The warning came just days after North Korea restored communication lines with South Korea more than a year after severing them.
Kim Yo-jong said it would be hasty of South Korea to blow out of proportion the significance of what she dubbed as nothing but a physical reconnection.
She added that she has been hearing an unpleasant story that joint military drills between Seoul and Washington could be held as scheduled.
Kim said that the exercise, which takes place at an important juncture, would become an unpleasant prelude that seriously undermines the will of the top leaders of North and South Korea seeking to take the step toward rebuilding trust. It would further cloud the future of inter-Korean relations.
South Korea and the U.S. have held annual summertime joint military exercises in the second week of August.
President Moon Jae-in has instructed military leaders to consult carefully with their U.S. counterparts on the two countries' joint military exercises slated for later this month.
A senior presidential official told reporters on Wednesday that Moon gave the instruction in a meeting with senior military officials earlier in the day.
The president was responding to a report by Defense Minister Suh Wook that the military is discussing the matter with the U.S. and health authorities with consideration to the current pandemic situation and other "realistic" conditions.
On Tuesday, National Intelligence Service Director Park Jie-won told a parliamentary committee that there is a need to "flexibly" respond regarding the exercises.
However, a key presidential official on Wednesday denied that the top office has changed its position, with many expecting the drills will go ahead as planned.