N. Korea says Japan’s PM proposed summit talks

Mar 26, 2024, 10:52 am

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Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un./ Source: Yonhap News

AsiaToday reporters Hong Sun-mi & Ji Hwan-hyuk

“Japan’s practical political decisions will be important in opening a path towards improving bilateral relations,” said Kim Yo-jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday.

“Shortly ago, Kishida conveyed his intention to personally meet the President of the State Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as soon as possible,” Kim Yo-jong said, referring to Kim Jong-un in a statement carried by the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). In February, Kim Yo-jong said a visit by Kishida to Pyongyang is possible if Tokyo does not make the issue of past abductions of Japanese nationals an obstacle between the two countries, according to KCNA. 

“If Japan continues to try to interfere with our exercise of our sovereign rights, and continues to be preoccupied with the abduction issue, of which there is nothing more to resolve or investigate, then the prime minister’s offer for talks will inevitably be labelled as just an attempt to improve his popularity,” she said. 

For now, Japan is unlikely to accept the terms the North requested for summit talks, which is that Tokyo should not be involved in Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development, recognize Pyongyang’s status as a nuclear power, and prohibit mentioning the abduction issue. While the prospects for the talks are still uncertain, if the meeting is held, it would be 22 years since the meeting between then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in September 2002.

In response to Kim’s statement, Kishida said Monday that “various initiatives are being made at a direct level,” but he was “not aware” of the KCNA report. “Top-level meetings are important for resolving issues such as the abduction problem,” he said. 

#Kim Yo-jong #Kishida #summit talks #Japan #North Korea 
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