Kim Jong-un’s powerful sister Kim Yo-jong rejects US calls for diplomacy

North Korea says it tested new solid-fuel long-range missile

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un dismissed US calls for a return to diplomacy.

Kim Yo-jong’s furious repartee came after US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield called Pyongyang’s satellite launch a “reckless, unlawful” action that threatens its neighbors.

Thomas-Greenfield however renewed the US’s offer for dialogue without any preconditions, saying North Korea “can choose the timing and topic”.

But Kim rejected the US overture and threatened more satellite and other weapons launches in violation of UN bans.

In a statement to North Korean state media, she said: “The sovereignty of an independent state can never be an agenda item for negotiations, and therefore, (North Korea) will never sit face to face with the US for that purpose.

“(North Korea) will continue to make efforts to develop everything belonging to its sovereign rights and continue to exercise the sovereign rights, enjoyed by all the member states of the UN, in a dignified manner without being restricted in the future, too.”

Pyongyang has been banned from performing any launches using ballistic technology, such as satellite liftoffs and missile tests.

But the rogue nation has argued it has sovereign rights to launch spy satellites and test-flight ballistic missiles to cope with what it calls US-led military threats.

North Korea views major US-South Korean military drills as invasion rehearsal and often reacts with its own weapons tests.

Kim Yo-jong said the UN Security Council meeting last Monday was convened at “the gangster-like demand of the US and its followers.”

Kim, who has been helping her brother oversee North Korea’s policies and is a leading member of his Cabinet, said Thomas-Greenfield must first explain why US strategic assets have frequently appeared at South Korean ports.

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She appeared to be referring to the increasing temporary deployments of powerful US military assets like aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines in line with an earlier US-South Korean agreement to boost their defence against North Korea’s evolving nuclear threats.

After two failed launch attempts earlier this year, North Korea claimed to put its first military reconnaissance satellite into orbit last week.

The North has since claimed its “Malligyong-1” spy satellite was transmitting imagery with space views of key sites in the US and South Korea, such as the White House and the Pentagon.

US and South Korean officials confirmed the North Korean satellite entered orbit but outside experts still doubt whether the North Korean satellite can produce militarily meaningful high-resolution imagery.

Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told a briefing Tuesday: “I will say that there are plenty of images of the Pentagon and the White House online, so I’ll just leave it at that. Yeah?”

The spy satellite launch deepened animosities between North and South Korea, with the rivals taking respective hostile military steps along their heavily fortified border in breach of their previous tension-reduction deal.

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