Kim Yo Jong bolsters military credentials leading charge on South

TOKYO — Just two years ago,  Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, won many hearts at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics with her smile diplomacy.

South Korean progressives, who had applauded her as a “messenger of peace” back then, are devastated by the recent turn of events.

While her all-powerful brother has been in and out of the spotlight since returning from a conspicuous absence in April and May, it has been Kim Yo Jong who has been the face of the North Korean leadership, as it takes an increasingly hostile stance toward the South.

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South Korea’s SK mass-produces Japan-grade etching gas

SEOUL — South Korea’s SK Materials has begun mass production of a crucial chipmaking gas at a purity level nearly on par with Japanese-made offerings subject to export restrictions by Tokyo, the company said Wednesday.

A plant in the South Korean city of Yeongju will produce 15 tons of etching gas per year. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix reportedly will procure the gas for their semiconductor businesses.

This places South Korea a step closer to creating a chipmaking supply chain largely independent of Japan. Seoul aims to have homemade etching gas meet 70% of demand from domestic chipmakers by 2023.

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North and South Korea border tensions: Seven things to know

SEOUL — Just over two years since the leaders of the two Koreas shook hands over the demarcation line that has separated the countries for decades, tensions on the peninsula are escalating rapidly.

In recent days, North Korea has destroyed an inter-Korea liaison office on its side of the border and has threatened military action against the South. Seoul has responded by threatening retaliation against Pyongyang — moves that have hindered South Korea President Moon Jae-in’s policy priority of seeking reconciliation between the countries, which are still technically at war.

Here are seven things to know about the latest developments

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South Korea vows to retaliate against any North military action

SEOUL — South Korea vowed Wednesday to retaliate against any North Korea military action after Pyongyang threatened to send troops into border areas.

“The North will pay the price for any military actions,” Major General Jeon Dong-jin of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told reporters. “We are monitoring North Korean forces’ movements around the clock. We keep a firm military readiness and will continue to make efforts to stop military tensions from escalating.”

North Korean state media reported early Wednesday that the isolated nation plans to deploy troops to protect two areas near the border that had previously been

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