Kim Jong-un threatens war against South Korea after defectors drop thousands of 'dirty' pics of wife Ri Sol-ju
North Korea supremo Kim Jong-un has reportedly threatened to go to war with South Korea after "dirty" doctored images of his wife were dropped into the Hermit Kingdom. On May 31, North Korea reportedly received anti-Pyongyang leaflets from defectors in South Korea via balloons and found they contained offensive imagery of First Lady Ri Sol-ju.
As reported by Agence France-Presse, the incident caused "serious outrage" in the capital. On June 16, Kim blew up a liaison office in Kaesong, located just north of the border, and threatened to go to war as an apparent response to the provocative flyers. “The leaflets bore a special kind of dirty, insulting propaganda, aimed at the leader’s spouse," Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora told Russian media outlet TASS. According to him, the images were doctored “in such a low-grade way” that they became the “last straw” for North Korea.
That said, the liaison office was destroyed just days after Kim's sister Kim Yo-jong warned of "a tragic scene of the useless North-South joint liaison office completely collapsed.” Pyongyang announced the following day that it would resume military exercises, re-establish guard posts, and increase readiness and response in border towns. According to the report, it was North Korea's most provocative action on the peninsula since entering into an agreement with the South in 2018.
The two Koreas are technically still at war with each other as their 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty, and sending propaganda leaflets by balloons has since become a common tactic. North Korean defectors in the South dropped about 500,000 leaflets, cash, USB sticks, and SD cards into the Hermit Kingdom in May. Kim Jong-un was purportedly urged to drop plans to send 12 million leaflets to South Korea after he bombed the liaison office.
This comes after rumors of Kim's deteriorating health or death made the rounds as he has not been seen for three weeks. The North Korean dictator has only made a handful of public appearances in recent months, resulting in widespread speculation about his well being.
The first wave of reports claiming the North Korean supremo's physical decline or death came after Kim failed to attend celebrations marking the birth of his grandfather Kim Il-sung on April 15. Some reports claimed he died after a botched heart operation after suffering a heart attack while on a walk. But Kim Jong-un finally showed up on May 1, after an absence of 20 days, to inaugurate a newly commissioned fertilizer plant before going missing once again. He was next seen in pictures from a June 7 meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
And while state media has carried a series of stories on Kim's diplomatic correspondence, they have not shown him attending notable public events. Japanese defense minister Taro Kono told a press briefing on June 25 that recent movements observed in the hermit kingdom were “all very strange”. "We have some suspicions about his [Kim Jong-un’s] health," he said. According to Kono, the "very strange movements" in North Korea were mostly precautionary measures taken by the state to ensure Kim is not infected as Covid-19 spreads around the country.