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North Korea rejects US attempts to resume talks
  来源:苹果apple账号注册  更新时间:2024-06-14 13:35:26
President Moon Jae-in offers a seat to U.S. special envoy for North Korea Sung Kim before their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae,<strong></strong> Tuesday. Kim also had talks with National Security Adviser Suh Hoon and Unification Minister Lee In-young earlier in the day over the two nations' coordination on North Korea issues. Korea Times photo by Wang Tae-seok
President Moon Jae-in offers a seat to U.S. special envoy for North Korea Sung Kim before their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. Kim also had talks with National Security Adviser Suh Hoon and Unification Minister Lee In-young earlier in the day over the two nations' coordination on North Korea issues. Korea Times photo by Wang Tae-seok

S. Korea, US likely to abolish 'working group' forum

By Nam Hyun-woo

North Korea shot down the hopes of the United States and South Korea for dialogue on inter-Korean cooperation and denuclearization, with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying Washington had the "wrong" expectations for talks.

"It seems that the U.S. may interpret the situation in such a way as to seek comfort for itself," Kim said in a statement carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, Tuesday. "The expectations, which they chose to harbor the wrong way, will plunge them into greater disappointment."

The statement came after U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said in an interview that the North was sending an "interesting signal," referring to Kim Jong-un's earlier comment during a Workers' Party meeting June 17 that Pyongyang should be prepared for both "dialogue" and "confrontation" with the U.S.

Kim Yo-jong's statement came on the heels of efforts by Seoul and Washington to create a new conciliatory mood between the two Koreas, and Pyongyang and Washington, during the U.S. special envoy's visit here.

After meeting with his South Korean counterpart Noh Kyu-duk on Monday, special envoy Sung Kim said Washington would engage with Pyongyang "anywhere, anytime without preconditions."

Kim Yo-jong's negative stance toward these efforts can be interpreted as the North stating it only wants a dialogue that serves its interests, experts said.

"In some respects, there have been excessively optimistic interpretations of Kim Jong-un's recent statements regarding dialogue," said Go Myong-hyun, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. "The U.S. is offering talks with North Korea while maintaining a firm stance on sanctions and denuclearization, but Pyongyang just wants to talk about sanctions. Kim Yo-jong's message shows that the two sides' goals for any talks are polar opposites, and Pyongyang only wants a dialogue that is in its best interests."

Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute, also said the North had "yet to be prepared for immediate talks with the U.S."

"During the June 17 Workers' Party meeting, Kim Jong-un said the North should be prepared both for confrontation and dialogue, and the regime will begin its preparations from now on," Cheong said. "However, it is difficult to expect the U.S. and North Korea will easily find common ground given their deep rooted distrust. Thus, the U.S. should consider seeking to establish four-way talks involving China."

In another reconciliatory attempt, South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that Seoul and Washington had agreed to consider ending their "working group" on North Korea policy, which Pyongyang has condemned as a major hurdle to improving inter-Korean relations.

The group was set up in November 2018 to facilitate a coordinated North Korea approach between Seoul and Washington, as inter-Korean relations seemed to be improving following three summits between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim that year.

The group, however, faced questions as it created setbacks at key conciliatory moments between the two Koreas. In 2019, the two agreed to Seoul providing Tamiflu influenza vaccine to Pyongyang as humanitarian aid, but this foundered after the group's protracted review on whether trucks transporting the vaccine would violate sanctions on the North.

When North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in Gaeseong in June last year, the regime named the working group as one of the reasons for poor relations between the South and North, with Kim Yo-jong condemning it as "a U.S.-obedience trap that South Korea set up by itself."

While signaling an end to the group, the U.S. promised greater support for any possible inter-Korean dialogue.

President Moon Jae-in offers a seat to U.S. special envoy for North Korea Sung Kim before their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, Tuesday. Kim also had talks with National Security Adviser Suh Hoon and Unification Minister Lee In-young earlier in the day over the two nations' coordination on North Korea issues. Korea Times photo by Wang Tae-seok
South Korean Unification Minister Lee In-young, right, shakes hands with U.S. special envoy for North Korea Sung Kim during their meeting at the ministry's headquarters in the Government Complex Seoul, Tuesday. Yonhap

During his meeting with Unification Minister Lee In-young, Tuesday, U.S. envoy Kim said Seoul and Washington "are very closely aligned on all important aspects of our North Korea policy," and the U.S. supported "meaningful inter-Korean dialogue, cooperation and engagement."

The comment is in line with the outcome of the summit between Moon and U.S. President Joe Biden in May, which included Washington's reaffirmation of the 2018 Panmunjeom Declaration. The declaration states that the two Koreas would make efforts to establish a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Lee said that "now is a critical watershed moment at which we can move into dialogue mode," and Seoul and Washington should move in "an active and agile manner through a consensus."

After the meeting with the unification minister, Sung Kim met President Moon to discuss cooperation and coordination between the two nations on North Korea issues.

"The Biden administration's gradual approach toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through talks and diplomacy is appropriate," Moon was quoted as telling Kim by presidential spokesman Park Kyung-mee.

He also stressed that South Korea and the U.S. should cooperate to enable improvements in inter-Korean relations and talks between Washington and Pyongyang to progress in a "virtuous cycle."

Kim reaffirmed U.S. President Biden's support for meaningful conversation, engagement and cooperation between the two Koreas, and pledged he would do his utmost to get talks between Washington and Pyongyang restarted, Park said.

After meeting with Moon, Kim had talks with National Security Advisor Suh Hoon.



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