North Korea warns South Korea of ending military pact over propaganda leaflets

South Korean soldiers are seen at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas. (File photo)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister has warned South Korea of the possible scrapping of a recent inter-Korean military agreement if Seoul fails to stop North Korean defectors from sending propaganda leaflets into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two countries.

In a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday, Kim Yo-jong said the military pact reached in 2018 that promised to eliminate practical threats of war was “hardly of any value.”

She added that the North could also permanently shut the Kaesong industrial region and the liaison office in the North Korean border town if Seoul did not stop the defectors.

Thousands of anti-Pyongyang leaflets were recently flown with balloons into the North’s side of the demilitarized zone. The leaflets often carried propaganda messages that condemned Kim Jong-un over the country’s missile and nuclear programs.

“If such an act of evil intention committed before our eyes is left to take its own course under the pretext of ‘freedom of individuals’ and ‘freedom of expression,’ the South Korean authorities must face the worst phase shortly,” Kim Yo-jong said in the statement.

The KCNA report did not single out any individuals for blame in the leafleting. But Kim Yo-jong’s comments came after a former North Korean diplomat and another North Korean defector won parliamentary seats in South Korea’s general elections in April.
North and South Korea have been separated by the Demilitarized Zone since the three-year Korean War came to an end in 1953.

The zone, which is one of the world’s most heavily-fortified border areas, is planted with some two million mines and guarded by barbed wire fences, tank traps, and combat troops on both sides.

Kim Yo-jong serves unofficially as her brother’s chief of staff and formally as a vice director of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Committee.

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