Sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said it was "high time" to break ties with the South Korean authorities and added that the next action against the "enemy" would be from the army.
It is better to take a number of retaliatory measures than publish statements that condemn South Korea's behavior and that could be misinterpreted or rejected, Kim Yo Jong said on Saturday, the official Korean central news agency.
"Garbage has to be thrown in the trash can," she said. "By exercising my power authorized by the Supreme Leader, our party, and the state, I instructed the poor in the department responsible for dealing with the enemy to take the next action with determination."
Kim Yo Jong's comments came on the 20th anniversary of the first meeting between top leaders of divided Korea. The summit, which began on June 13, 2000, was the greatest moment in the reconciliation efforts of President Kim Dae-jung at the time, which led to increased trade and joint projects and helped to award the South Korean head of state the Nobel Peace Prize.
While this "sunshine policy" helped alleviate tensions, it was also criticized for providing the North Korean leaders with the money needed to build their nuclear weapons program.
President Moon Jae-in planned to meet top helpers on Monday after his security officers held an urgent videoconference early Sunday to discuss the current situation on the divided peninsula and possible answers, his office said.
In parliament, his progressive camp wants to push for a symbolic resolution that calls for cooperation on the peninsula and an official end to the Koreans from 1950-53, who was stopped by an armistice and not by a peace treaty. The conservative opposition has criticized it as a move that would make South Korea look weak, but it doesn't have the votes to block it.
The Unification Ministry said in a statement that it was taking the situation seriously and urged the North to comply with the inter-Korean agreements. The Department of Defense said it maintained a firm military readiness, Yonhap News reported.
The recent cloud of dust was triggered by South Korean activists who sent anti-Pyongyang messages in balloons across the border. North Korea broke this week's communications link with Seoul two years ago, which accused it of allowing hostile acts by not stopping the activists.
North Korea has not answered South Korea's calls on the military line on Tuesday for the first time since the restoration of the inter-Korean communication link in 2018.
South Korea said last week that it would try to ban leaflets against North Korea after a reprimand from Kim Yo Jong. Millions of leaflets have flown across the border for more than a decade and contain messages that criticize North Korean leaders. In recent weeks at the latest, Kim Jong Un has performed less publicly than usual, which has led to global speculation about his health.
Boo Seung-chan, a former advisor to the South Korean Minister of Defense, said Kim Yo Jong's recent statements should reinforce Kim Jong Un's authority to run the country.
"North Korea is currently facing a difficult political and economic challenge," said Boo, now an associate professor at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul. "And that undermines Kim Jong Un's legitimacy to rule."
North Korean officials are also beating South Korea for lack of a new solution to revive nuclear talks, saying the country will continue to strengthen its forces to deal with the so-called US threats.
"If they want to deal with us, they need to contact us after they have racked their brains and have found another method," said State Department official Kwon Jong Gun in a separate statement released on Saturday about KCNA has been published. "We will continue to expand our armed forces to overcome the ongoing threats from the United States, and our efforts will continue at this point."
The United States and North Korea have remained far apart in terms of denuclearization. Faced with growing tensions, South Korea has offered help to restore dialogue and committed to improving its own relations with North Korea.
North Korea says that its nuclear weapons act as a deterrent to the United States and that Washington must ease its sanctions before denuclearization can take place. The US is demanding that North Korea give up its arms ambitions before the restrictions can ease.
On the occasion of the second anniversary of the 2018 meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said the United States had broken its word and dashed hopes of denuclearization.
"Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise," Ri was quoted in a KCNA report on Friday. The US has shown that it aims to "isolate and suffocate" North Korea.
– With the support of Kanga Kong, Jon Herskovitz and Jihye Lee.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)