Kim Yo Jong, sister of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said it will be hard to see the spring days of three years ago again while denouncing ROK-U.S. joint military drills yesterday. She slammed the South Korean government, calling it “idiot by nature” and a “mad dog” and threatened that the latter part of President Moon-Jae-in’s presidency will be painful and uncomfortable. She also lashed out at the Joe Biden administration of the U.S., saying, “It would be better not to create work from the start that will make you lose sleep.”
Seoul and Washington scaled down their joint military drills this year, conducting them in the form of computer simulations but their consideration was met with mockery by Kim Yo Jong. Against this backdrop, a high-ranking South Korean government official expressed willingness to hold an inter-Korean summit, saying the goal is for the leaders of the two Koreas to confirm the Panmunjom Declaration and Pyongyang Declaration. The fact that Seoul has not given up hopes for an inter-Korean summit despite Pyongyang’s continued bashing and threats leaves many to wonder if the government is intoxicated with ideals and dreams and has lost a sense of reality.
It is a conventional tactic by North Korea to issue a statement a day before U.S. high-ranking officials’ visit to South Korea. Kim Yo Jong issued a statement in December last year in time for U.S. Deputy Secretary of State’s visit to South Korea in order to gain the upper hand in negotiations. Kim Yo Jong said the North will keep an eye on the attitude and behavior of South Korea and even mentioned the possibility of scraping a military peace agreement with South Korea. This is a message of pressure to South Korea to persuade the U.S. to ease sanctions against the North and demand for the Biden administration to show progress in its stance. This also could mean that North Korea is hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and a drop in trade.
North Korea’s bashing of South Korea and the U.S. is preposterous but we do not need to be swayed by its pressure tactics. The most important thing is to resume stalled denuclearization negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea. The meeting between Seoul and Washington this time should be focused on addressing the issue. For its part, North Korea should refrain from making frivolous remarks that dampen the atmosphere for dialogue. Such behavior will only weaken the bond of trust between the U.S. and North Korea, which has remained weak after the transfer of power in the U.S.