Kim’s sister criticises US and South Korea for holding military exercises

Kim’s sister criticises US and South Korea for holding military exercises”

The Biden administration, concerned about the situation in North Korea, is conducting an evaluation of the threat to the United States and its allies in Asia.

North Korea's nuclear ambitions are expected to feature prominently during this week's visit to Japan and South Korea by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The inter-Korean engagement that had improved in 2018 and is sought by South Korea "won't come easily again" and North Korea would be watching for any further provocations, she said.

She said the North would also consider scrapping an office that handled South Korean tours to the North's scenic Diamond Mountain, which Seoul suspended in 2008 after a North Korean guard fatally shot a South Korean tourist. "To date, we have not received any response from Pyongyang".

"We take this opportunity to warn the new USA administration trying hard to give off (a gunpowder) smell in our land", the official Korean Central News Agency quoted Kim Yo Jong as saying. "If they want to have a good night's sleep for the next four years, it would be good for them not to do things that would prevent them from sleeping properly from the start".

North Korea has always been a focus of U.S. attention, but during the presidency of Donald Trump, the country's reclusive dictator, Kim Jong Un, was feted and fawned over like never before.

A senior official from the Biden administration said on Saturday that US officials have tried to reach out to North Korea through multiple channels since last month, but have yet to receive a response.

The senior Biden administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, offered few details on the diplomatic push.

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In Tokyo, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not respond to a reporter's request for comment on North Korea's statement.

The statement by Kim Yo Jong, a key adviser to her brother, was Pyongyang's first explicit reference to the new president in Washington, more than four months after Joe Biden was elected to replace Donald Trump - although it still did not mention the Democrat by name. Sanctions have so far failed to convince Mr Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.

Kim Yo Jong also mentioned the USA and warned it against meddling with inter-Korean relations.

But inter-Korean relations have lain in ruin amid the stalemate in the nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. The remarks were made in protest of the annual springtime joint military exercise between Seoul and Washington that kicked off on March 8 and is set to run through Thursday. The drills were scaled down due to the coronavirus risk and in a bid to keep diplomatic channels open. They said they held the downsized drills after reviewing factors like the status of COVID-19 and diplomatic efforts to resume the nuclear talks with North Korea.

Relations between the U.S. and North Korea plummeted in 2017 when North Korea tested long-range missiles capable of hitting American cities.

"War rehearsals can not coexist with dialogue, hostility can not coexist with cooperation", she said. Pyongyang says the drills are "rehearsal for invasion", but the US and South Korea say the drills, which were scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are "defensive" in nature and don't include field training.

Kim Yo Jong's statement, as colourful as it is, is generally consistent with past North Korean statements expressing frustrations at disparities between words and actions, said Jenny Town, director of 38 North, a USA -based website that tracks North Korea.

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