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Cheong Wa Dae: no comment on N. Korea's criticism of President Moon

16:26 September 16, 2021

SEOUL, Sept. 16 (Yonhap) -- The office of President Moon Jae-in said Thursday it would not respond formally to North Korea's direct condemnation of Moon over what it describes as "improper" and "stupid" remarks.

Cheong Wa Dae is apparently seeking to prevent inter-Korean tensions from escalating especially in advance of Moon's speech at the U.N. General Assembly next week, which is widely expected to include Seoul's unswerving commitment to the peace process. Cheong Wa Dae has attached a special meaning to the 30th anniversary this year of the two Koreas becoming members of the U.N. simultaneously.

Regarding the latest statement issued by Kim Yo-jong, sister of the North's leader Kim Jong-un, a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters, "(We) will not make any mention (of the issue)."

Kim, who holds the official job title of vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, strongly criticized Moon by name Wednesday night. It was unusual for Kim to level a verbal attack on the president. She met with Moon at his office in Seoul in early 2018, effectively serving as a peace messenger.

She was taking issue with remarks Moon made right after inspecting the country's underwater test-firing of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

He stressed the South's enhanced missile capabilities will help deter North Korea's "provocation."

Kim said, "We express very great regret over his thoughtless utterance of the word 'provocation,' which might be fitting for hack journalists." She then warned of the breakdown of inter-Korean relations.

A view of Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul (Yonhap)

lcd@yna.co.kr
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