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Kim Yo-Jong’s Statement on South Korea and Why the Issue of Preemptive Strikes was Mentioned

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Author Hong, Min
Publish Date / Page 2022-04-11 / 10 p.
Series No. CO 22-09(E)
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North Korea’s criticism of South Korea has recently been unusually intense. Denouncements of South Korea through North Korean propaganda outlets have increased between January and March this year, and have especially intensified since the presidential election in South Korea. Following this trend, deputy director Kim Yo-jong issued two separate statements on April 2 and 4, respectively. Secretary Pak Jong-chon, representing the North Korean military, added to the regime’s criticism of South Korea with his statement on April 2. On the surface, each of these statements took issue with recent comments by South Korea’s minister of national defense Seo Wook who mentioned that South Korea “has the ability and posture to conduct precision strikes on the origin of any attack and its command and support facilities if and when signs of a missile attack becomes clear” at the ceremony commemorating the restructuring of the Army Missile Strategic Command and the Air Force Missile Defense Command on April 1. The statements by Kim and Pak criticized these comments as threats of ‘preemptive strikes.’ The increasing frequency of criticism of South Korea observed this year, the reappearance of Kim Yo-jong, North Korea’s sensitive reaction to preemptive strikes, and the regime’s emphasis of its status as a nuclear state are all texts that can be used to anticipate North Korea’s strategic and tactical approach towards South Korea in the near future. This paper analyzes these recent statements, the trend of increasing criticism of South Korea by North Korea, the intent and context of problematizing the issue of preemptive strikes, and North Korea’s strategy toward South Korea expected in the future.