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Kim Yong Chol returns threatening U.S. with ‘an exchange of fire’

Kim Yong Chol returns threatening U.S. with ‘an exchange of fire’

Posted October. 28, 2019 07:33,   

Updated October. 28, 2019 07:33


A North Korean senior official said in Sunday’s statement that the United States is pressuring and isolating North Korea in a more crafty and vicious way and there can be an exchange of fire at any moment. Kim Yong Chol, the vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the chairman of the Korea-Asia Pacific Peace Committee, had disappeared after the failed nuclear summit with the United States held in Hanoi in February. His comeback signals the North’s growing pressure on the United States to adopt a new method. Some experts raise a possibility of North Korea launching intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) to further escalate the tensions at the end of the year.

In the statement carried by North Korea’s state news agency Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), he said the United States would be mistaken to think that it can ignore a year-end deadline based on U.S. President Donald Trump’s and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s close personal relationship. It was the first time it was confirmed that Kim retained his chairmanship after stepping down as director of the United Front Department. The senior official said that there is a limit to everything, adding “the close personal relations can never be kept aloof from the public mindset and they are never a guarantee for preventing the North Korea-U.S. relations from getting aggravated.”

Kim’s statement is the latest of of many moves Pyongyang has made recently. It has requested the removal of South Korea’s facilities from its resort of Mount Kumgang on Wednesday, issued a statement by Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan on Thursday and sent Seoul a notice for the demolition on Friday. It all happened within 10 days after its state media mentioned a grand operation in an article covering North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s horse ride to the top of Mount Baekdu.

A source from the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday that, despite the escalating tensions, it is worth noting that the North showed it is open to a dialogue. In the meantime, former Chancellor of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy Yun Duk-min said North Korea might launch ICBMs claiming that they are satellites if things do not go according to its plan.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com · Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com