As Joe Biden envoys begin Asia trip, Kim Jong Un’s sister’s ‘lose sleep’ warning to US
Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s influential sister, fired a warning at the United States as President Joe Biden’s officials began a visit to their key allies Tokyo and Seoul. Kim Yo Jong said that the actions could make the US “lose sleep”.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Japan on Monday on their first overseas trip, aimed at rallying military alliances as a bulwark against China and cementing a united front against the nuclear-armed North, news agency AFP reported.
The statement by Kim Yo Jong, a key adviser to her brother, was Pyongyang’s first explicit reference to the new president in Washington, more than four months after Joe Biden was elected to replace Donald Trump — although it still did not mention the Democrat by name.
“If you wish to sleep well for the next four years, it would be better not to create work from the start that will make you lose sleep,” she said.
The United States and South Korea began joint military exercises last week and Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper carried a statement from her offering “a word of advice to the new administration of the United States that is struggling to spread the smell of gunpowder on our land”.
Shortly before Biden’s January inauguration, leader Kim decried the US as his country’s “foremost principal enemy” and Pyongyang unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile at a military parade.
The talks process was brokered by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in but relations between Seoul and Pyongyang have been in deep freeze since Kim and Trump’s summit in Hanoi collapsed in February 2019.
Kim Yo Jong is a trusted adviser to her brother and was a key voice when inter-Korean tensions mounted last year, culminating in the North blowing up a liaison office on its side of the border.
Austin and Blinken are due to arrive in South Korea on Wednesday before the defence secretary heads to India while the diplomat returns to the United States for talks with Chinese officials.