SEOUL Reuters -- North Korea's Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said on Friday South Korea's president should shut down his mouth after he said that his country was willing to provide economic aid in return for nuclear disarmament.
Her comments were the first time a senior North Korean official has commented directly on what South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol called an ambitious plan first proposed in May, and he talked about again on Wednesday at a news conference to mark his first 100 days in office.
Kim Yo Jong said in a statement by state news agency KCNA that he would have been more favorable for his image to shut his mouth and that he would trade economic cooperation for the North's honor and nuclear weapons.
She said no one barters its destiny for corn cake.
South Korea's Unification Minister, who handles relations with the North, called Kim's comments very disrespectful and indecent. Yoon has said he is willing to provide phased economic aid to North Korea if it ends nuclear weapons development and denuclearization, but he has also pushed to increase South Korea's military deterrence against North Korea. South Korea has resumed long-suspended joint drills with the United States, including major field exercises due to begin next week.
On Wednesday a U.S. State Department spokesman said Washington supports Yoon's policies, but Kim said the joint drills show that the allies' talk of diplomacy is insincere.
She said that we will not sit face to face with him.
Experts say the South's latest economic plan is similar to proposals by previous leaders, including those during the summits between then-U. The North was unlikely to accept the offer, according to S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Scott Snyder, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said in a blog post on Thursday that Yoon's initiative adds to a long list of failed promises involving South Korean promises to provide economic benefits to North Korea. These were the same assumptions that were behind a series of failed attempts to jump start denuclearization talks.
The first such test in two months was conducted by North Korea on Wednesday, after it fired two cruise missiles into the sea. It came after the country declared victory over COVID - 19 last week.