Kim’s sister

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Kim’s sister makes insulting threats to Seoul over sanctions

By HYUNG-JIN KIMtoday

FILE - Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019. Kim Jong Un made insult-laden threats against South Korea on Thursday for considering unliteral sanctions on the North, calling the South’s new president and his government “idiots” and “a running wild dog gnawing on a bone given by the U.S.” (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP, File)

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FILE – Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019. Kim Jong Un made insult-laden threats against South Korea on Thursday for considering unliteral sanctions on the North, calling the South’s new president and his government “idiots” and “a running wild dog gnawing on a bone given by the U.S.” (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attacked South Korea with a string of insults on Thursday for considering new unilateral sanctions against the North, calling its president and his government “idiots” and “a running wild dog gnawing on a bone given by the U.S.”

Kim Yo Jong’s diatribe came two days after South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it was considering additional sanctions on North Korea over its recent barrage of missile tests. The ministry said it would also consider taking action against alleged cyberattacks by North Korea — believed to be a key new source of funding for its weapons program — if the North conducts a major provocation like a nuclear test.

“I wonder what ‘sanctions’ the South Korean group, no more than a running wild dog gnawing on a bone given by the U.S., impudently will impose on North Korea,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by state media. “What a spectacle sight!”

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She called South Korea’s conservative President Yoon Suk Yeol and his administration “idiots who continue creating the dangerous situation.” She added that South Korea “had not been our target” when Moon Jae-in — Yoon’s liberal predecessor who sought reconciliation with North Korea — was in power. The comment could be seen as an attempt to foster anti-Yoon sentiment in South Korea.

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“We warn the impudent and stupid once again that the desperate sanctions and pressure of the U.S. and its South Korean stooges against (North Korea) will add fuel to the latter’s hostility and anger and they will serve as a noose for them,” Kim Yo Jong said.

Kim Yo Jong’s official title is vice department director of the Central Committee of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party. But South Korea’s spy agency says she is the North’s second-most powerful person after her brother and handles relations with South Korea and the United States.

While it’s not the first time Kim Yo Jong has used crude invectives toward South Korea, North Korea is expected to further escalate military tensions on the Korean Peninsula given that she’s in charge of relations with South Korea and wields some influences on the North’s military, said analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea.

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South Korea quickly shot back at Kim Yo Jong’s insults of Yoon, saying it’s “very deplorable for her to denounce our head of state with rough, substandard words and show no basic forms of etiquette.” Seoul’s Unification Ministry said in a statement that it strongly condemns what it called “her impure attempt to incite antigovernment struggles and shake our system” in South Korea.

Last month, South Korea imposed its own sanctions on 15 North Korean individuals and 16 organizations suspected of involvement in illicit activities to finance North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. They were Seoul’s first unilateral sanctions on North Korea in five years, but experts say they were largely symbolic because the two Koreas have few financial dealings between them.

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But observers say Seoul’s push to coordinate with the United States and others to crack down on North Korea’s alleged illicit cyberactivities could anger North Korea and damage its financing of its weapons programs. Earlier this year, a panel of U.N. experts said in a report that North Korea was stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from financial institutions and cryptocurrency firms and exchanges.

North Korea has been under 11 rounds of United Nations sanctions imposed over its nuclear and missile tests since 2006. But the U.N. Security Council has failed to adopt new sanctions against North Korea over its run of banned ballistic missile launches this year because of the opposition of China and Russia, two veto-wielding members of the council that are locked in confrontations with the United States.

South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that North Korea is turning to cybercrime and covert ship-to-ship transfers of unauthorized goods as a way to evade those U.N. sanctions. Spokesperson Lim Soosuk said Kim Yo Jong’s strong reaction to the South’s review of possible unilateral sanctions proves that North Korea cares deeply about su

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