North Korea threatens retaliation after 'preemtive strike' comment from South Korean official

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North Korea is not pleased with a comment made by a senior South Korean official and has warned the country may face a “serious threat,” an official said.

Kim Yo Jong, the authoritative sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, pushed back on South Korea’s defense minister, who said his country may launch a preemptive strike on their northern neighbors, calling him a “scum-like guy.”

“The senseless and scum-like guy dare mention a ‘preemptive strike’ at a nuclear weapons state,” Kim said told state media.

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She also warned South Korea could be subject to retaliation as South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook boasted Friday that his country could launch precision strikes on North Korea if his country believes there to be an impending missile strike.

FILE - Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP, File)

FILE – Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 2, 2019. (Jorge Silva/Pool Photo via AP, File)

“South Korea may face a serious threat owing to the reckless remarks made by its defense minister,” she added. “South Korea should discipline itself if it wants to stave off disaster.”

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The comment in question from Wook came amid missile test launches from North Korea and is particularly unusual as South Korean President Moon Jae-in pushes for reconciliation across the Korean Peninsula.

A South Korean train runs on the rail track, which the two Koreas hope to eventually use as an international transport link, near to the border village of Panmunjom in North Korea, in Paju, South Korea, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.  (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

A South Korean train runs on the rail track, which the two Koreas hope to eventually use as an international transport link, near to the border village of Panmunjom in North Korea, in Paju, South Korea, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.  (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Pak Jong Chon, an official within the North Korean government, also warned that “any slight misjudgment and ill statement rattling the other party under the present situation” could result in “a dangerous conflict and a full-blown war.”

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FILE - In this April 8, 2012, file photo, a soldier stands in front of the Unha-3 rocket at a launching site in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

FILE – In this April 8, 2012, file photo, a soldier stands in front of the Unha-3 rocket at a launching site in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
(AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

North Korea will “mercilessly direct military force into destroying major targets in Seoul and the South Korean army” if a preemptive attack occurs, Pak said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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