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N Korea at crossroads

Kim Jong Un's sister hints at military action against South Korea

North Korea's Kim Yo Jong says liaison office will be destroyed

Kim Yo Jong, seen on TV, is considered the most powerful woman in North Korea.    © AP

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong issued a statement Saturday warning that Pyongyang would demolish the "useless" inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Kaesong.

"Before long, a tragic scene of the useless north-south joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen," she said in comments carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.

The threats are part of North Korea's response to anti-Pyongyang leaflets attached to balloons and sent across the border by those who have defected to the South. Kim Yo Jong, who is first vice department director of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, called the defectors "betrayers and human scum."

She also criticized the South for not halting the balloons, saying "I feel it is high time to surely break with the South Korean authorities."

"The right to taking the next action against the enemy will be entrusted to the general staff of our army," she said, hinting at military action.

"By exercising my power authorized by the supreme leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with enemy to decisively carry out the next action," she said.

The increasingly provocative comments from Kim show how far her star has risen in the North. She grabbed international headlines when she led a delegation to the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea and is now considered her brother's right hand woman. State media recently declared her the chief of relations with Seoul.

Earlier, the South Korean government had charged the defectors for violating laws that guide North-South cooperation and had said that it would clamp down on the actions. But Pyongyang has released threatening statements on consecutive days.

Kwon Jong Gun, director-general of the department of U.S. affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also issued a statement Saturday suggesting the South abandon talks of denuclearization.

"It is really pitiful that they are still irrationally mouthing denuclearization, like a monk chanting the prayers," Kwon said.

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