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Defcon Watch: "Scum-like guy..."
Kim Jong-un's little sister lashes out at South Korean senior official
Defense Minister Suh Wook, no less; who drew the ire of Kim Yo Jong—little sister to North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un—after remarking on South Korea’s standing policy of precision preemptive strikes in response to any imminent missile threat from its Communist neighbor to the north.
“The senseless and scum-like guy dare mention a ‘preemptive strike’ at a nuclear weapons state,” said the youngest member of the Kim clan, rumored to be the most powerful person in North Korea after her big bro, in a statement carried by state media. “South Korea may face a serious threat owing to the reckless remarks made by its defense minister.”
Which he issued during a tour of South Korea’s strategic missile command—if only to punch-up the point.
This in the wake of North Korea’s first ICBM test in four years and a possible nuke test on the brinksmanship menu.
Another senior North Korean official went even further, saying that any “slight misjudgement” could spark “a full-blown war.”
Not to be outdone by Vladimir Putin’s threats of nuclear conflict, the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un has taken the opportunity to ratchet up tensions with its southern liberal-democratic adversary as the West deals with the horror of Putin’s campaign to conquer Ukraine. Pyongyang’s message seems to be: “Moscow ain’t the only game in town you should worry about…”
And what does Beijing have to say about this recent uptick in recalcitrant behavior from their most belligerent client-state? Any statement from the CCP or the government ministries? Defense? Foreign Affairs? Hell, state security? No? Crickets?
Might China—now quietly hedging its bets on the Russo-Ukrainian War, playing both sides of the minefield, and backing off its own South China Sea and Taiwan-tailored saber-rattling—be encouraging Kim and the Gang from Pyongyang to ratchet up the tension? You know, to more effectively—and covertly—channel their geopolitical aggression. Vent their own diplomatic steam without taking the heat.
Could President Xi be the one whipping up all this proxy chaos to create opportunity for China?
Alex Holstein is the co-author of Warfighter: The Story of an American Fighting Man, due out May 15, 2022, from Lyons Press. He holds an MSc in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies from the London School of Economics, where he wrote his thesis on the Soviet KGB.