Kim Yo Jong, deputy director of North Korea's Propaganda and Agitation Department, condemned South Korea's president on Tuesday. File Photo by Jorge Silva/EPA-EFE
March 3 (UPI) -- Kim Jong Un's powerful younger sister warned Seoul on Tuesday in a rare statement defending the regime's recent tests of short-range projectiles.
In a statement to Pyongyang's state-controlled news agency KCNA, Kim Yo Jong, who is believed to be the vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Korean Workers' Party, said the presidential Blue House had crossed a line for remarks regarding North Korea's tests.
Remarks from President Moon Jae-in's office are a "presumptuous measure," Kim said, according to North Korea state media.
"We express great astonishment upon learning of the Blue House's subpar view of matters," Kim said.
Kim Yo Jong, who was also identified as the first vice chairwoman of the central committee of the Korean Workers' Party, said the exercises were not a threat to other countries.
"We did not conduct drills to threaten anyone," she said. "Training is a chief occupation of the military and an act of self-defense."
She also expressed "strong regret" for the Blue House's statement and described Seoul's call for an end to the drills as a "strange" request.
"It is my understanding the South also enjoys conducting joint military exercises quite a bit," the North Korean official said. "They also like to turn up the heat with the purchase of advanced military equipment."
On Sunday, the 101st anniversary of the March First movement in South Korea, Moon said North Korea "responds with missiles" when Seoul offers diplomacy. The next day, North Korea launched two more short-range projectiles from its eastern coast.
South Korea's military trains on a regular basis for defense purposes, either with the United States or independently.
The hazards of exercises are in the spotlight following an accident at sea.
South Korea television network MBC reported Tuesday a grenade used during a local naval drill exploded, injuring seven people. The accident took place off the southern coast of Korea on a 130-ton Chamsuri, or Sea Eagle-class vessel, at 12:30 p.m. South Korea's naval command said it is unclear whether the grenade exploded while in storage or while being "moved," a naval source said, according to MBC.