Moon Voices 'Extreme Disappointment' at N.Korea

  • By Jeong Woo-sang, Kim Myong-song

    June 18, 2020 09:45

    President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday expressed "extreme disappointment" at North Korea and said it "went too far" when it demolished the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong.

    Moon made the comments in a lunch meeting with former unification ministers and other seasoned diplomats after yet another shrill statement by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong.

    Kim Yo-jong had described Moon's address Tuesday affirming commitment to cross-border agreements as "shameless sophistry" while state media divulged that South Korea offered to send a special envoy to break the stalemate in relations. She also denounced Moon as a "scoundrel" who "put his neck into the noose of pro-U.S. flunkeyism."

    But Moon added "I will continue to be patient and look for ways to improve inter-Korean relations."

    President Moon Jae-in (center) talks with former officials and other seasoned diplomats during a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday. /Courtesy of Cheong Wa Dae

    Cheong Wa Dae also criticized North Korea for being "rude" and demanded that it stop its "senseless" words and actions. Presidential spokesman Yoon Do-han said Kim Yo-jong "disparaged the president's remarks… in a very rude tone with no understanding of the president's intent. We find this senseless."

    Yoon added South Korea "will not tolerate the North's unreasonable words and actions anymore" and warned the North to show at least some "basic courtesy."

    The official [North] Korean Central News Agency divulged that Moon had offered to send National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong as a special envoy on Monday. It also reported that it was Kim Yo-jong and not her brother who rejected Moon's offer. For some reason this breach of protocol seemed to upset officials here more than the demolition of the liaison office.

    One former Unification Ministry official said, "It is common sense that Kim Jong-un decides whether to accept or reject his counterpart's offer, so it was unexpected to be turned down by Kim Yo-jong instead, even if she is a member of the Kim dynasty."

    One former high-ranking North Korean who defected to South Korea said, "For some reason, Kim Jong-un appears to have decided to let inter-Korean relations sour and has entrusted his younger sister with the job."

    Kim Jong-un has not been seen in public for the last couple of weeks and seems to be focusing on domestic matters, letting his sister do the dirty work.

    KCNA also trod out the familiar warning to turn Seoul into a "sea of fire" while pledging to re-deploy troops to the Mt. Kumgang resort and Kaesong Industrial Complex.

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