North Korean leader's powerful sister slams ‘Old’ Biden over nuclear threat

SEOUL, April 30 (Bloomberg): The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un slammed US President Joe Biden for making nuclear threats, saying it marked the "dotage of the old” and would be met by a boost in her country’s atomic arsenal.

Kim Yo-jong’s comments, released on state media Saturday, marks the first official reaction from North Korea to a meeting this week in Washington between Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to boost their deterrence against Pyongyang, and includes a rare mention of the US president in its propaganda apparatus.

She called the "Washington Declaration” reached between Biden and Yoon "a product of the vicious hostile policy toward the DPRK which reflected the most antagonistic and aggressive will of action,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported, referring to the country by its formal name.

Kim Yo-jong, who has been used as the face of the pressure campaign against the US and South Korea, added that while the two countries bring more nuclear assets into the region, North Korea will respond by boosting its arsenal "in direct proportion to it.”

South Korea’s Unification Ministry denounced Kim Yo-jong’s claims as "far-fetched” and showing the low level of the regime, Yonhap News reported.

North Korea added to the rhetoric on Sunday with a vow to step up its "military deterrence,” according to state media. The South Korean president’s US visit was described as "the most hostile, aggressive and provocative trip and a dangerous one for a nuclear war,” in a commentary carried by KCNA.

It remains to be seen if the statements will be marked by a ramping up of provocations by Pyongyang, which has been firing ballistic missiles at a blistering pace.

It’s seeking to enhance its ability to deliver a credible nuclear strike to the US mainland and the two allies in Asia who host the bulk of America’s military personnel in the region - South Korea and Japan.

Biden stressed in his meeting with Yoon that a North Korean nuclear attack on the US and its allies would be the end of Kim Jong Un’s regime, as he announced new efforts with South Korea to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear buildup.

Yoon was rewarded with a greater say in how America deploys its nuclear umbrella and assurances it would be used to retaliate against a North Korean strike.

KCNA has only mentioned Biden by name on its English-language service six times previously in a database search that goes back to 2000, usually in insult-laced barbs such as calling him "an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being,” in a 2019 dispatch. At the same time, it was lavishing praise on then-President Donald Trump who met three times with leader Kim Jong Un.

While the meetings were historic, they resulted in no concrete measures to wind down North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, which only grows larger and more lethal.

Kim Yo-jong also made a dig at Biden, as he seeks reelection in 2024.

"Of course, it may be called a nonsense of the old without future who will not be responsible for the security and prospect of the United States at all and considers it to be burdensome to stand only two years of his term of office in the future,” she said.

North Korea has already fired 17 ballistic missiles this year, which included three intercontinental ballistic missiles designed to deliver a nuclear warhead to the US mainland. The country fired off more than 70 ballistic missiles last year, a record for the state.

North Korea has demonstrated its missiles could fly as far as the US, but there are questions as to whether the warheads would be able to stay intact long enough to reach their targets. - Bloomberg

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