The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un yesterday said it was “admirable” of South Korea to propose a formal end to the Korean War, but demanded Seoul first drop its “hostile policies” towards Pyongyang.
Kim Yo-jong’s remarks, carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency, were in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s recent calls for declaring an official end to the 1950-1953 conflict that ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the two sides technically at war for more than half a century.
In a speech at the UN General Assembly earlier this week, Moon proposed the declaration of an end to the conflict that broke out 71 years ago, adding that such an act would “make irreversible progress in denuclearization and usher in an era of complete peace.”
Kim Yo-jong, a key policy adviser to her brother, said it was an “admirable idea” to propose a formal end to the war, but added that South Korea should remove its hostile attitude first.
Making such a declaration with “double-dealing standards, prejudice and hostile policies” still in place “does not make any sense,” she said.
“For the termination of the war to be declared, respect for each other should be maintained and prejudiced viewpoint, inveterate hostile policy and unequal double standards must be removed first,” she said.
She added that making such a declaration would “hold no water and would change nothing” under current conditions, but that North Korea would be willing to discuss improving ties with Seoul if South Korea withdrew hostility “after breaking with the past when it often provoked us.”
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae-song also dismissed Moon’s call as premature so long as US policies were unchanged.
“It should be clearly understood that the declaration of the termination of the war is of no help at all to stabilizing the situation of the Korean Peninsula at the moment, but can rather be misused as a smokescreen covering up the US hostile policy,” Ri said in a statement carried by state media.
US weapons and troops deployed in South Korea and its vicinity and regular US military drills in the region “all point to the US hostile policy toward [North Korea] getting vicious day by day,” he said.
The South Korean Ministry of Unification said it would continue its efforts to adopt the end-of-the war declaration and strengthen cooperation with related countries.
Deputy ministry spokesman Cha Duck-chul said that declaring the war’s end would be “a very meaningful step” as it could be a starting point for peace negotiations and denuclearization on the peninsula.
Kim Yo-jong last week accused Moon of “slander” after both sides carried out missile launches.
North Korea carried out two missile firings this month alone, one involving a long-range cruise missile and the other short-range ballistic missiles.
Moon described Pyongyang’s launches as “provocations” when he oversaw a successful test fire of a submarine launched ballistic missile last week, making South Korea one of a handful of nations with the advanced technology.
That prompted Kim Yo-jong to condemn Seoul’s “illogical attitude that describes their similar behavior as a legitimate action to support peace, and ours as a threat to peace.”
Communications between the countries have largely been cut in the aftermath of a second US-North summit in Hanoi that collapsed in February 2019, as then-US president Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un could not settle on the terms of an agreement.
Additional reporting by AP
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