Sister of North Korean leader dismisses prospects for talks with US

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an April 18, 2019 file photo.

A top North Korean official, who is also the sister of leader Kim Jong Un, rejected the possibility of talks between her country and the United States on Tuesday, saying the U.S.’s expectation of a meeting between the two countries “would plunge them into a greater disappointment.”

Kim Jong Yo’s comments are the latest in a series of verbal exchanges between the U.S. and North Korea, as the prospect of restarting nuclear talks lingers.

Kim Jong Un last week told the North Korean government that it must be prepared for “dialogue and confrontation” with the U.S., potentially opening the door to nuclear talks.

The official Korean News Agency, cited by the AP, reported that Kim “stressed the need to get prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, especially to get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state” and ensure national security.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan reacted to the North Korean leader’s comments, calling them an “interesting signal.”

“We will wait to see whether they are followed up with any kind of more direct communication to us about a potential path forward,” Sullivan added.

Kim Jong Yo responded, accusing the U.S. of interpreting the situation between the two countries “in such a way as to seek comfort for itself.”

“It seems that the U.S. may interpret the situation in such a way as to seek a comfort for itself,” Kim Yo Jong said, according to the official Korean Central News Agency, cited by the AP.

“The expectation, which they chose to harbor the wrong way, would plunge them into a greater disappointment,” she added.

This most recent spat, according to experts who spoke to the AP, illustrates that the diplomatic stalemate between the two countries is likely to continue, unless North Korea faces economic difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are forced to enlist outside entities for assistance.

On Monday, during a visit to Seoul, the U.S.’s top envoy on North Korea affairs Sung Kim said Washington would meet with the North “anywhere, anytime without preconditions,” according to the AP.

Kim made clear, however, that the Biden administration would continue pressuring North Korea with sanctions because of its nuclear and missile aspirations, the AP reported.

Kim also met with South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young on Tuesday, just before Kim Jong Yo’s statement was released, according to the wire service. He reportedly told the minister that Washington and Seoul are still dedicated to working towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy.

Lee reportedly said he hopes North Korea returns to the negotiating table soon, adding that the current situation is “a very good chance” to recommence talks.

Kim also met with South Korea President Moon Jae-in, according to the AP. The two leaders reportedly said they would work to reinstate talks between the U.S. and North Korea.

Tags Jake Sullivan Kim Jong Un Korean Peninsula North Korea nuclear talks US-North Korea relations

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