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Cheong Wa Dae closely monitoring Pyongyang following hostile statement from N.K. leader's sister: official

All News 16:17 August 10, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office was closely monitoring Pyongyang's stance after the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un slammed Seoul and Washington for going ahead with joint military exercises against her warning, according to a senior official Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Kim Yo-jong expressed her deep regret at what Pyongyang called the "perfidious behavior" of Seoul in a statement carried by the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency, as the South kicked off a preliminary training with the United States in the run-up to next week's main exercise despite her earlier warning that the maneuvers will cloud inter-Korean relations.

She also vowed to further strengthen the country's "deterrent of absolute capacity" to cope with military threats.

Kim is in charge of inter-Korean affairs as a senior Workers' Party official.

In reaction to the statement, a senior Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters that the office was "closely monitoring North Korea's stance without prejudging the intention of the statement or North Korea's future response at this point in time."

The official added that Kim appears to have "expressed North Korea's previous position regarding the South Korea-U.S. joint training," suggesting that Pyongyang's reaction was in line with expectations.

Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister and currently vice department director of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, visits Ho Chi Minh mausoleum in Hanoi, in this file photo dated March 2, 2019. (Yonhap)

Whether and how to conduct the summertime exercise have drawn keen attention after she said on Aug. 1 that it could undermine efforts to improve inter-Korean ties following the restoration of long-severed cross-border communication lines late last month.

Moon was reportedly briefed on the latest Pyongyang statement by Suh Hoon, national security director at Cheong Wa Dae.

North Korea has long denounced Seoul and Washington's military drills as a rehearsal for an invasion of the North. The allies say that the exercises are defensive in nature.

The unification ministry in Seoul said that tensions should never be heightened on the Korean Peninsula under any circumstances, adding that it will closely monitor North Korea's future actions and brace for any possibilities.

odissy@yna.co.kr
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