Warning from North as US aims for talks
A TOP North Korean official warned the US yesterday not to misinterpret comments by her leader, saying doing so would end in disappointment, as a US envoy aiming to get talks with the North back on track met South Korea’s president.
Kim Yo Jong, a senior official in North Korea’s ruling party and sister of leader Kim Jong-un, released a statement in state media saying the US appeared to be interpreting signals from North Korea the “wrong way”.
She was responding to US National Security adviser Jake Sullivan, who on Sunday said he saw an “interesting signal” in a recent speech by Kim Jong-un on preparing for both confrontation and diplomacy with the US.
“It seems that the US may interpret the situation in such a way as to seek a comfort for itself,” she said in the statement, carried by the North’s KCNA state news agency.
“The expectation, which they chose to harbour the wrong way, would plunge them into a greater disappointment.”
North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme has been a seemingly intractable problem for the US for years.
President Joe Biden’s administration has conducted a review of North Korea’s policy that concluded that the US would seek to find “calibrated and practical” ways of inducing it to give up its nuclear weapons.
Kim’s warning came as the recently appointed US special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, was visiting South Korea to meet senior officials, including President Moon Jae-in.
Moon told the US envoy he would do his best to get inter-Korean and US-North Korea relations back on track during the remainder of his term in office, and expressed hope for progress toward denuclearisation and peace on the Korean peninsula, presidential spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said.
Sung Kim reaffirmed Biden’s support for meaningful inter-Korean dialogue and engagement, and said he would “do his best for resumption of US-North Korea talks”, Park said.
On Monday, Sung Kim said he was willing to meet the North Koreans “anywhere, any time without preconditions”, and that he looked forward to a “positive response soon”.
In a sign being seen in South Korea as a positive US gesture, the two allies also discussed scrapping a joint “working group” that analysts say South Korea has seen as an irritant in their relations.
The Moon administration has made building ties with the North a top priority.