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ConflictsNorth Korea

North Korea slams South's aid-for-disarmament offer

August 19, 2022

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has rejected South Korea's offer of economic assistance in exchange for denuclearization.

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, delivers a speech during the national meeting against the coronavirus, in Pyongyang.
Kim Yo Jong's comments came days after Pyongyang threatened to "wipe out" Seoul authorities over a recent COVID-19 outbreakImage: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service/AP/picture alliance

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister has dismissed South Korea's offer of economic benefits in exchange for denuclearization steps, calling it the "height of absurdity."

Kim Yo Jong on Friday questioned the sincerity of the South's push for improved bilateral ties while calling out Seoul's military drills with the United States and its inability to restrict activists from flying  anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets and other objects over their border.

What is Seoul seeking to achieve?

In May this year, South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol said that Seoul was "prepared to work with the international community to present an audacious plan that will vastly strengthen North Korea's economy and improve the quality of life for its people."

During his 100th day in office on Wednesday, Yoon once again stressed on his keenness to provide phased economic assistance to Pyongyang if it ended nuclear weapons development and began denuclearization.

"To think that the plan to barter 'economic cooperation' for our honor, (our) nukes, is the great dream, hope and plan of Yoon, we came to realize that he is really simple and still childish," Yo Jong said in a statement published by the official Korea Central News Agency.

"Though he may knock at the door with what large plan in the future as his "bold plan" does not work, we make it clear that we will not sit face to face with him," she added.

North Korea marks 'Victory Day'

Kim Yo Jong's comments came days after Pyongyang threatened to "wipe out" authorities in Seoul over a recent COVID-19 outbreak.

Pyongyang tried to blame the outbreak on a rare act of protest in the South that is a frequent cause of complaint: balloons with propaganda messages launched towards the North by defector activists. Pyongyang sought to claim the COVID cases were carried via these balloons, not the rather more likely and efficient transmission vector of people. 

The remarks also come as officials in the United States and South Korea continue to warn that North Korea is gearing up to conduct what could be its seventh nuclear test.

dvv/kb (AFP, AP, Reuters)