Kim Jong-un’s sister says her country’s nuclear forces would annihilate South if provoked

South Korea’s statement on pre-emptive strikes are ‘hysteria of a lunatic’, Kim Yo-jong says

Sravasti Dasgupta
Tuesday 05 April 2022 12:55 BST
Related: North Korea releases bizarre montage of Kim Jong-un overseeing missile test launch

North Korea has warned the South that it will annihilate the country’s conventional forces with its nuclear weapons if provoked.

Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, termed South Korean defence minister Suh Wook’s recent statements about pre-emptive strikes as a “fantastic daydream” and the “hysteria of a lunatic”.

Ms Kim said that though the North didn’t want another war in the Korean peninsula, Pyongyang would retaliate with its nuclear forces if South Korea opts for pre-emptive strikes or other attacks.

“In case [South Korea] opts for military confrontation with us, our nuclear combat force will have to inevitably carry out its duty… a dreadful attack will be launched and the [South Korean] army will have to face a miserable fate little short of total destruction and ruin,” she said.

This is the second time in a week that Ms Kim has attacked the South Korean minister.

“The senseless and scum-like guy dare[s] mention a ‘pre-emptive strike’ at a nuclear weapons state,” Ms Kim had said on Sunday. “South Korea may face a serious threat owing to the reckless remarks made by its defence minister. [The country] should discipline itself if it wants to stave off disaster.”

According to South Korea’s spy service, Ms Kim is in charge of relations with Seoul and Washington and is the North’s number two official behind her brother.

Ms Kim’s comments came after Mr Suh said on Friday that Seoul has the ability and readiness to launch precision strikes on North Korea if it detects any missiles fired at South Korea.

South Korea has long maintained such a pre-emptive military strategy to cope with the North’s growing missile and nuclear threats, but it was still highly unusual for a senior Seoul official under the outgoing administration of president Moon Jae-in to publicly discuss it.

Tensions between the two countries have heightened after North Korea accelerated its weapons tests this year, including its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) since 2017.

The move sparked concern among analysts and experts that Mr Kim may be laying the groundwork for its first nuclear weapons test in nearly five years. US president Joe Biden and Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida also condemned the launch during a meeting of G7 and European leaders in Brussels.

However, South Korea had dismissed the event as a bid to deceive its neighbours and said last week that it believes the North actually fired the previously-launched Hwasong-15 missile that day and only passed it off as a huge, new ICBM.

Additional reporting by agencies

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