President Kim Jong Un was so furious about the “dirty, insulting” depictions of his wife in an anti-Pyongyang leaflet campaign initiated by defectors in South Korea that he blew up a liaison office with Seoul and threatened to take military action, according to a report on Monday.
The leaflets, carried over the highly militarized border by balloons, is a propaganda tactic that the two countries have used since the Korean War.
But pamphlets that made it over the border on May 31 that included provocative imagery of First Lady Ri Sol Ju sparked “serious outrage” in Pyongyang, Agence France Presse reported, citing comments made by Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora.
“The leaflets bore a special kind of dirty, insulting propaganda, aimed at the leader’s spouse,” Matsegora told Russian media outlet TASS.
He said they were photoshopped “in such a low-grade way” that they became the “last straw” for the Hermit Kingdom.
The liaison office in Kaesong, just north of the border, exploded on June 16 days after Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, warned “of a tragic scene of the useless North-South joint liaison office completely collapsed.”
The following day, Pyongyang announced it would resume military exercises, boost readiness in border towns and reestablish guard posts — its most provocative actions on the peninsula since it entered an agreement with the South to lower tensions in 2018.