North Korea’s Kim seeks better relations with the South, but hits the US | world
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un expressed his readiness in early October to re-establish deadlocked lines of communication with South Korea to promote peace, while declining US offers of dialogue as “smart ways” to dispel hostility towards the north hide, state media reported on Thursday.
Kim’s testimony is an obvious attempt to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington as he wants South Korea to help him gain relief from crippling US economic sanctions and other concessions. Pyongyang has offered conditional talks with Seoul this month, alongside the first rocket launches in six months and increased criticism of the United States.
At the request of the US, Great Britain and France, the UN Security Council has scheduled a closed emergency meeting on the latest tests by North Korea on Thursday.
Speaking to his country’s stamp parliament on Wednesday, Kim said that restoring cross-border hotlines – which have been largely inactive for more than a year – would fulfill the Korean people’s desire for peace between the two Koreas, according to the Korean Central News Agency.
Kim still accused South Korea of ââ”seeking external assistance and cooperation while crying out for international cooperation in the US easement” rather than pledging to find an independent solution to inter-Korean affairs.
Repeating the demands of his powerful sister Kim Yo Jong on Seoul to abandon the “double stance” and “hostile position” on northern missile tests and other developments, Kim said the fate of inter-Korean relations was at a critical juncture. Some experts say North Korea is urging South Korea to withdraw its criticism of its missile tests, which are banned by UN Security Council resolutions, in order to gain international recognition as a nuclear power.
The South Korean Unification Ministry replied that it would prepare to restore the hotlines it believes are needed to discuss and resolve many pending issues. It was said that the “stable operation” of the canals was to be expected as their restoration was directed by Kim Jong Un.
With regard to the United States, Kim Jong Un rejected repeated US offers to resume talks unconditionally, citing an attempt to hide America’s “hostile policies” and “military threats” which he believed remained unchanged.
The Biden administration “touts ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘unconditional dialogue’, but it is only a small ploy to deceive the international community and hide their hostile actions and expand the hostile policies of successive US governments.” said Kim.
He added: “The US remains completely unchanged when it comes to military threats and hostile policies towards (North Korea), but it uses more cunning methods and methods.”
North Korea has long cited US-led economic sanctions and regular military exercises between Washington and Seoul as evidence of US âhostile policiesâ towards them. Kim Jong Un has announced that it will increase its nuclear arsenal and not resume nuclear diplomacy with Washington unless US hostility is withdrawn.
US officials have repeatedly expressed the hope of meeting North Korea âanywhere, anytimeâ but will continue sanctions until the North takes concrete steps towards denuclearization. Diplomacy has stalled for 2Â½ years over disagreements over easing US-led sanctions in exchange for limited denuclearization moves.
Ahead of the launch of a new hypersonic missile on Tuesday, North Korea said it also launched a newly developed cruise missile and ballistic missile from a train this month. Both weapons could carry atomic bombs to attack targets in South Korea and Japan, both important allies of the United States, where a total of 80,000 American soldiers are stationed.
Kim said in his speech in parliament that “an incentive has been given to … develop a powerful new weapon system capable of thoroughly curbing the military movements of enemy forces”. He accused the United States and its “vassal forces” of creating a “new cold war” and ordered officials to develop “tactical measures” for US relations.
Kim Jong Un is maintaining a moratorium on testing a long-range missile that can reach the American homeland, an indication that he wants to keep alive the chances of future diplomacy with the US
After nearly 10 years in power, Kim Jong Un has said that North Korea is facing the worst crisis ever due to the coronavirus pandemic, US-led sanctions and natural disasters. In his most recent speech, he called for progress towards the ailing economy, but urged greater efforts to tighten epidemic prevention measures and meet other goals set during the Labor Party’s ruling convention in January.
Meanwhile, Kim’s sister was elected as a member of the state affairs commission headed by her brother during this week’s meeting of the People’s Supreme Assembly, KCNA reported. The appointment of Kim Yo Jong, who is already a senior Labor Party official who oversees Pyongyang’s relations with Seoul, is another sign that Kim is consolidating his family rule in the face of difficulties.
The Associated Press Writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.
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