The sister of North Korea’s leader, Kim Yo-jong, has criticised ongoing military drills in South Korea and warned the new US administration against “causing a stink” if it wants peace, state news reports.
The statement on Tuesday came a day before America’s top diplomat and defence chief were due to arrive in Seoul for their first talks with South Korean counterparts.
“We take this opportunity to warn the new US administration trying hard to give off powder smell in our land,” Ms Kim said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA.
“If it wants to sleep in peace for coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”
North Korea had so far rebuffed entreaties from the US to engage in dialogue, the White House said on Monday, as a chill in relations that began under then-president Donald Trump has extended into Joe Biden’s presidency.
Leader Kim Jong-un had three high-profile summit meetings with Mr Trump and exchanged a series of letters, but the nuclear-armed state ended talks and said it would not engage further unless the US dropped its hostile policies.
South Korean and American troops began a joint spring military drill, which was limited to computer simulations because of the coronavirus risk as well as the ongoing efforts to engage with the North.
“War drills and hostility can never go with dialogue and co-operation,” said Ms Kim, who has become a vocal critic of Seoul in state media dispatches.
The inter-Korean engagement that had improved in 2018 and was sought by South Korea “won’t come easily again” and North Korea would be watching to see if there was further provocations, she said.