August 11, 2021 13:32
An expected rapprochement between the two Koreas heralded by the reconnection of communication lines has proved a flash in the pan as North Korea refused to answer daily routine calls from South Korea.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong the same day denounced South Korea as "perfidious" for going ahead with joint military drills with the U.S.
The phone lines were only restored two weeks ago after unspecified behind-the-scenes negotiations. It is not known what if any promises President Moon Jae-in made to Kim Jong-un in letters they exchanged, or whether they could be interpreted as misleading.
The South and the U.S. on Tuesday started four days of preliminary training, for which Kim Yo-jong warned "a dear price should be paid."
The drills were scaled down due to the coronavirus pandemic but still sparked the familiar frenzied rhetoric.
"Whatever the scale and mode, the joint military exercises are of aggressive nature as they are a war rehearsal and preliminary nuclear war exercise," she added.
Top apparatchik Kim Yong-chol was quoted Wednesday as fulminating, "We will make them realize by the minute what a dangerous choice they made and what a serious security crisis they will face because of their wrong choice."
Earlier this month Kim Yo-jong already warned, "The restoration of the communication liaison lines should not be taken as anything more than just a physical reconnection."
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