Kim Yo-Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, denounced South Korea and the United States' plan to carry out annual summertime military drills due later this month saying it will "become an unpleasant prelude to the North and South seeking to take the step toward rebuilding trust again."
The statement comes just days after the North restored long-severed communication lines with the South on July 27th.
Let's go in-depth. I want to bring in one of the world's leading North Korea expert, Professor Andrei Lankov of Kookmin University.
Thanks for joining us.
Coming just days after the restoration of the communication line between the two Koreas, we cannot but wonder whether the cancellation or delay of the South Korea, U.S. joint military drills is the bill for the restoration?
Do you think the summertime exercises will be scaled down, yet again? They say it's already downsized to the point where they cannot be downsized anymore. How do you think the upcoming drill will be carried out?
What do you think is the motivation behind Kim Yo-jong's statement, denouncing the exercises and calling them a rehearsal for invasion, at a time when the communication line between North and South has just been restored?
Does it seem likely that inter-Korean relations will improve even if the South accepted North's demand and decided to cancel the drill, because the North hasn't shown any commitment to improving inter-Korean ties in recent years. What's your take on this?
Since the liaison hotline has been restored between the two Koreas, do you think there is hope for the possibility of a virtual meeting being held to connect the separated families for Chuseok? Or would this be too big of an expectation as the North continues to depreciate the meaning of the restored communication line?
Professor Andrei Lankov, thanks for your insights.