The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says her country is willing to resume talks with South Korea if it doesn't provoke the North with 'hostile policies and double standards'.
Kim Yo Jong's statement was a response to renewed calls by South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War as a way to bring back peace. Her proposal also came days after North Korea performed its first missile tests in six months and South Korea performed its first test of a submarine-launched missile.
"If (South) Korea distances itself from the past when it provoked us and criticised us at every step with its double standards and restores sincerity in its words and actions and abandons its hostility, we would then be willing to resume close communication and engage in constructive discussions about restoring and developing relations," Kim Yo Jong said.
Her comments were a contrast to an earlier statement by a senior North Korean diplomat that the end-of-war declaration could be used as a "smokescreen covering up the US hostile policy" against the North.
Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song said US weapons and troops deployed in South Korea and its vicinity and regular military drills in the region "all point to the US hostile policy toward (North Korea) getting vicious day by day."
In a response to Ri's statement, South Korea's Unification Ministry said it'll continue its efforts to adopt the end-of-the war declaration and strengthen cooperation with related countries. Cha Duck Chul, a deputy ministry spokesman, said declaring the war's end would be "a very meaningful step" as it could be a starting point for peace negotiations and denuclearisation on the peninsula.
The Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula in a technical state of war.
Both Koreas called for an end-of-war declaration to be made and a peace treaty to be signed during the period of diplomacy with the United States that began in 2018, and there was speculation then-President Donald Trump might announce the war's end in early 2019 to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to commit to denuclearisation.
However, the diplomacy faded to a stalemate over easing economic sanctions in return for North Korea denuclearising.
In recent months, Kim has warned that North Korea would bolster its nuclear arsenal and introduce more sophisticated weapons systems unless the United States drops its hostile policy. Last week, North Korea conducted its first cruise and ballistic missile tests since March, demonstrating its ability to launch attacks on South Korea and Japan, two key US allies where a total of 80,000 American soldiers are stationed.
Australian Associated Press