World North Korea says inter-Korean summit possible with ‘respect’
EXPLAINER: Kim's launches show push to boost nuke arsenal
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea's recent sword-rattling after months of relative quiet makes clear that leader Kim Jong Un is working on expanding his weapons arsenal. Nuclear-capable missiles hidden in trains that can be launched anywhere along a railway. A new cruise missile resembling the U.S. Tomahawk that can be potentially topped with atomic warheads. The apparent resumption of making fuel for potential nuclear bombs. Likely they are an attempt to wrest concessions from Washington if, and when, long-stalled diplomatic talks on Kim's nuclear program resume.
The sister of North Korea’s leader has said Pyongyang is willing to consider another inter-Korean summit if mutual “respect” and “impartiality” between the two countries can be guaranteed.
The statement on Saturday was Kim Yo Jong’s second in two days.
She had urged Seoul on Friday to end its “hostile policies” towards Pyongyang after South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in called for declaring an official end to the state of war with the North.
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The 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice not a peace treaty, leaving United States-led forces technically still at war with North Korea.
Pyongyang for decades has sought an end to the war but the United States has been reluctant to agree unless North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons.
“I think that only when impartiality and the attitude of respecting each other are maintained, can there be smooth understanding between the north and the south,” Kim Yo Jong was quoted as saying by the state news agency KCNA.
She also said a summit, as well as discussions on a declaration to end the war, could be held “at an early date through constructive discussions”.
She went on to reiterate Friday’s call for the South to drop its “unequal double-standards”, in an apparent reference to Moon’s criticism of the North’s recent missile launches.
EXPLAINER: Why North Korea wants sanctions lifted first
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Days after outgoing South Korean President Moon Jae-in made possibly his last ambitious push to diplomatically resolve the standoff over North Korea's nuclear program, the North on Friday rejected his call for a declaration ending the Korean War, making it clear it has no interest in political statements unless they bring badly needed relief from crippling economic sanctions. Nuclear diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea has stalled over disagreements over a relaxation of the U.S.-led sanctions in exchange for steps toward denuclearization by the North.
Last week, the South successfully test-fired successful a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), making it one of a handful of nations with the advanced technology.
North Korea carried out two missile firings this month alone, one involving a long-range cruise missile and the other short-range ballistic missiles.
Communications between the North and South have largely been cut in the aftermath of a second US-North summit in Hanoi that collapsed in February 2019 as then-US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could not agree on the terms of an agreement.
Kim Yo Jong, who is a powerful confidant of her brother, said she noted with interest the intense discussion in the South over the renewed prospect of a formal declaration of the end of the Korean War.
“I felt that the atmosphere of the South Korean public desiring to recover the inter-Korean relations from a deadlock and achieve peaceful stability as soon as possible is irresistibly strong,” she said.
“We, too, have the same desire.”
North Korea’s offer to engage in talks with South Korea comes after it rejected several overtures for dialogue by the US.
Joe Biden, the president of the US, said in his UN address last week that he wanted “sustained diplomacy” to resolve the crisis surrounding North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.
The head of the UN atomic watchdog meanwhile said last week that North Korea’s nuclear programme was going “full steam ahead”.
North Korea Condemns U.S. Policies as Nation Launches Third Missile Test This Month .
The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said the launch wasn't an immediate threat but it spotlights "the destabilizing impact of [North Korea's] illicit weapons program."The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said that the missile launch wasn't an immediate threat, but aimed the spotlight on "the destabilizing impact of [North Korea's] illicit weapons program." The launch of a ballistic missile would breach a U.N. ban on North Korean ballistic activities, but the organization generally doesn't enact new sanctions when short-range weapons are fired, the AP reported.