06/10/2020, 16.36
KOREA
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All eyes are on Kim Jong-un’s sister as North Koreans express anger at Seoul

North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper highlights the anger whilst Pyongyang cuts off all inter-Korean communication lines because of anti-North propaganda leaflets. For some experts, Kim jong-un is giving his sister room to gain concessions later on. In South Korea, President Moon Jae-in is attacked by the opposition for his conciliatory policy.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – North Korea's main newspaper Rodong Sinmun lashed out today at South Korea over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent by defectors and other activists into the communist state, saying "the whole country is ablaze with fury."

Yesterday, the North cut off all inter-Korean communication lines as retaliation against the propaganda leaflets, which were dropped from giant balloons. For Pyongyang, Seoul violated a 2018 agreement on easing tensions, and consequently should be treated as an enemy.

Last week, Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, threatened further action such as dismantling the Kaesong industrial park, which was shut down in 2016 after North Korea carried out a nuclear test.

The 2018 military tension-reduction agreement with North Korea is seemingly at risk. However, South Korea’s Defence Ministry said that, despite Kim Yo-jong’s threats, Seoul is committed to fully implement it.

Officially, Kim Yo-jong is viewed as primary player in inter-Korean affairs. According to several observers, her latest statements are a sign of her growing influence in the North’s ruling circles.

Between April and May, when rumours claimed that Kim Jong-un was either dead or seriously  ill, she was mentioned as a possible successor to her brother.

By contrast, some analysts believe that Kim Jong-un is using her for tactical purposes. He is giving his sister some leeway to up the ante against South Korea in order to intervene at a later date to obtain greater concessions in negotiations with Seoul.

The two Koreas are technically still at war since they have never signed a peace treaty to end the Korean War (1950-1953).

Faced with Pyongyang's increasingly bellicose language, the South Korean government has taken action to appease the North, calling for an end to dropping leaflets on North Korea, and introducing legislation to ban it.

To this end, South Korea’s Unification Ministry today announced that it was filing a complaint with the police against two groups of North Korean dissidents responsible for sending the leaflets.

However, in his attempt to appease Kim Jong-un, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has exposed himself to attacks by his political adversaries at home.

South Korea’s conservative opposition has accused Moon of bowing to Pyongyang's demands, and is calling for an end to his conciliatory approach, which follows the Sunshine Policy adopted by his liberal predecessors 20 years ago.

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