North Korea refuses US offer for talks

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rejected US proposal for dialogue, calling it a cover for Washington’s hostile attitude toward Pyongyang.

Kim expressed his willingness to restore stalled communication lines with South Korea in early October to promote peace while shrugging off U.S. offers for dialogue as “cunning ways” to conceal its hostility against the North, state media reported Thursday.

Kim’s statement is an apparent effort to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington as he wants South Korea to help him win relief from crippling U.S.-led economic sanctions and other concessions. Pyongyang this month has offered conditional talks with Seoul alongside its first missile firings in six months and stepped-up criticism of the United States.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled an emergency closed meeting Thursday at the request of the United States, United Kingdom and France on North Korea’s recent tests.

During a speech at his country’s rubber-stamp parliament on Wednesday, Kim said the restoration of cross-border hotlines — which have been largely dormant for more than a year — would realize the Korean people’s wishes for a peace between the two Koreas, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

Kim still accused South Korea of being “bent on begging external support and cooperation while clamoring for international cooperation in servitude to the U.S.”, rather than committing to resolving the matters independently between the Koreas.

Kim repeated his powerful sister Kim Yo Jong’s calls for Seoul to abandon “double-dealing attitude” and “hostile viewpoint” over the North’s missile tests and other developments, adding the fate of inter-Korean ties is at a critical juncture. 

Some experts say North Korea is pressuring South Korea to tone down its criticism of its ballistic missile tests, which are banned by U.N. Security Council resolutions, in a bid to receive an international recognition as a nuclear power.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry responded that it’ll prepare for the restoration of the hotlines that it said is needed to discuss and resolve many pending issues. It said the “stable operation” of the channels is expected because their restoration was directly instructed by Kim Jong Un.

On the United States, Kim Jong Un dismissed repeated U.S. offers to resume talks without preconditions, calling them an attempt to hide America’s “hostile policy” and “military threats” that he stressed remain unchanged.

The Joe Biden administration “is touting ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘dialogue without preconditions’ but it is no more than a petty trick for deceiving the international community and hiding its hostile acts and an extension of the hostile policy pursued by the successive U.S. administrations,” Kim stated.

He added, “The U.S. remains utterly unchanged in posing military threats and pursuing hostile policy toward (North Korea) but employs more cunning ways and methods in doing so.”

North Korea has long called U.S.-led economic sanctions on it and regular military drills between Washington and Seoul as proof of U.S. “hostile policies” on them. Kim Jong Un has noted he would bolster his nuclear arsenal and not resume nuclear diplomacy with Washington unless such U.S. hostility is withdrawn.

U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed hopes to sit down for talks with North Korea “anywhere and at any time”, but have maintained they will continue sanctions until the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization. The diplomacy has been stalled for 2 ½ years due to disagreements over easing the U.S.-led sanctions in return for limited denuclearization steps.

Prior to the launch Tuesday of what North Korea announced was a new hypersonic missile, it also this month launched a newly developed cruise missile and a ballistic missile from a train. Both of those weapons could carry nuclear bombs to attack targets in South Korea and Japan, both key U.S. allies where a total of 80,000 American troops are stationed.

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