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Kim Jong-un's sister has raised the spectre of nuclear war after she slammed South Korea's attempt to get North Korea to abandon their nuclear weapons, warning the country's president to "shut his mouth".
Kim Yo-jong's explosive comments today (Friday, August 19) are the first made by a North Korean official directly addressing the South's offer, which was first extended in May.
South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol reiterated the offer in a speech marking his first 100 days in office.
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"It would have been more favorable for his image to shut his mouth, rather than talking nonsense as he had nothing better to say," said Kim Yo Jong, Deputy Department Director of the Publicity and Information Department in the Workers' Party of Korea, in a statement released by state news agency KCNA.
She went on to call Yoon "really simple and still childish" in response to the proposal, confirming the Democratic People's Republic (DPRK) would not give up its weapons so easily.
"No one barters its destiny for corn cake," she scathingly added.
South Korea’s Unification Minister called the comments "very disrespectful and indecent."
In spite of the economic offers, South Korea has continued to strengthen its military defence against its northern neighbour.
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The east Asian country has resumed joint drills with the US, suspended long ago, including major field exercises set to start next week.
But Kim has said the move to take up the drills again is evidence of the South's insincerity.
She said: "We make it clear that we will not sit face to face with [Yoon]."
"Yoon’s initiative adds to a long list of failed offers involving South Korean promises to provide economic benefits to North Korea," Scott Snyder, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said in a blog post on Thursday.
"These were the same assumptions that were behind a succession of failed efforts to jump-start denuclearisation talks."
Kim has become a vocal critic of the DPRK's southern neighbours, even blaming the Covid pandemic on the nation earlier this month and threatening "deadly retaliation" against them in a sweary rant.
Today's comments have been her most direct attack on South Korea, with critics claiming she's taking on the "bad cop" role to her brother's relatively calm approach.
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