Leaflets on Kim's Wife Were 'the Last Straw'

Russian ambassador says 'propaganda' featuring Ri Sol Ju was 'a special kind of dirty'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2020 1:52 PM CDT
Leaflets Portraying Kim's Wife Were 'a Special Kind of Dirty'
In this Jan. 25, 2020, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, his wife Ri Sol Ju, center, and his aunt Kim Kyong Hui, third from left, clap during a concert celebrating Lunar New Year's Day in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)

We may now know why North Korea was so upset with a recent round of anti-Pyongyang leaflets floated across the border from South Korea. Leaflets launched May 31—two weeks before North Korean officials blew up a joint liaison office—included provocative, Photoshopped images of Kim Jong Un's wife, Ri Sol Ju, according to Russia's ambassador to North Korea. It was "a special kind of dirty, insulting propaganda, aimed at the leader's spouse," says Alexander Matsegora, one of the longest-serving ambassadors in Pyongyang, per AFP. He adds the leaflets caused "serious outrage" and served as "the last straw" for North Korea. The country threatened to send troops to the border but later suspended that plan.

The suspension likely comes out of financial need rather than "a desire to place North-South reconciliation back on track," as months of closed borders "has deprived the North Korean economy of almost all foreign-exchange inflows," Korea Society President Thomas Byrne writes at the Wall Street Journal. It might be too much to hope for concessions during a future meeting of Kim and President Trump. Such a meeting is "probably unlikely between now and the US election" owing to the coronavirus pandemic, US Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun says, per the Japan Times. But "we believe there's still time for the United States and North Korea to make substantial progress in the direction that we believe that both sides want to go." (Read more North Korea stories.)

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