Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. File/AFP
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s influential sister slammed the South’s president on Tuesday as “a parrot raised by America” after he criticised a missile test by Pyongyang.
The nuclear-armed North has a long history of using weapons tests to ramp up tensions, and last week carried out its first substantive provocation since US President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
The US and Japan said the weapons fired were ballistic missiles — banned under a UN Security Council resolution — while Pyongyang insisted they were tactical guided weapons.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has long backed engagement with Pyongyang, made a carefully measured speech on Friday — when the South marked three deadly attacks by the North since 1999 — that did not specifically refer to the missile test.
Actions that stand in the way of resuming dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington were “undesirable,” he said.
His speech prompted denunciation from Pyongyang, with Kim Yo Jong, a key adviser to her brother, calling it the “height of effrontery.”
She had been “struck speechless,” she said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, referring to Moon only as the South’s “chief executive” and not by his name or title.
Calling him “a parrot raised by America,” she said he was employing “the gangster-like logic of the US.”
It is a far cry from the diplomacy of 2018, when Moon visited Pyongyang and gave a speech to a vast crowd in the May Day Stadium, where at one point an image of him and Kim Jong Un was displayed across a grandstand.
The Biden administration is in the final stages of a review on policy towards the North, and the new US president has repeatedly said he will look to rebuild the alliances with partners such as South Korea that suffered under his predecessor Donald Trump.
Biden has warned the North that “there will be responses if they choose to escalate” testing.
He left the door open for further diplomacy, but the White House said on Monday a summit between him and Kim was “not his intention.”
European members of the UN Security Council have asked for a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the launch.
Not much is known about Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Her past is a hazy mystery mostly blinkered by controls the hermit nation keeps on information out of the country.
North and South Korea on Saturday struck different notes as they marked the first anniversary of a summit between their leaders that fuelled a whirlwind of diplomacy which has died down amid deadlock over Pyongyang’s denuclearisation.
Moon has long championed engagement with Pyongyang and used the South's 2018 Winter Olympics to build a diplomatic rapprochement that climaxed with the first landmark summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who has led working-level talks with the North Koreans, landed at a US military base south of Seoul, media reported, and was due to meet South Korean officials on Wednesday and Thursday.
The bus route from Muscat to the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, passing through Al Ain city will be back to service from next month after it had been suspended temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This came during His Highness' reception of the Dutch Prime Minister today at Qasr Al Shati in Abu Dhabi, where His Highness welcomed Rutte and expressed his hope that the visit would contribute to advancing UAE-Netherlands relations in key fields.
Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq, Sultan of Oman, received on Tuesday, at Al Baraka Palace in the Omani capital, Muscat, His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
More than 13,500 people - about 12% of the region's population - have fled across the border since Azerbaijan’s swift military operation to fully reclaim the region after three decades of separatist rule, Armenia's government said Tuesday morning.