North Korea has once again shown interest in a rapprochement with its southern neighbor, albeit with conditions. Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the top North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, said on Friday that her country is willing to resume dialogue if Seoul ends its “hostile policies” and its “double standards.” His message comes hours after Ri Thae Song, North Korea’s deputy foreign minister, sent a statement in which he pointed out that the signing of a peace treaty is hasty and that it would only serve to aggravate tensions on the peninsula.
The Korean War (1950-1953) ended with the signing of an armistice instead of a peace treaty, which in theory means that they have not formally ended the war conflict of seven decades ago. South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has placed this long-delayed pact as a number one priority on his government’s agenda, proposed on Tuesday to the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly that “three parties, the two Koreas and the US, or four parties, the two Koreas, the US and China, meet and declare an end to the war on the Korean peninsula. “
The North Korean vice foreign minister on Thursday called the initiative “premature” and took the opportunity to once again describe the US policy towards his country as “hostile”. Ri referred to recent military exercises, arms sales to South Korea and Japan, and the new trilateral security alliance AUKUS as examples of Washington’s line of action aimed at torpedoing the realization of a final peace.
Just a few hours later, however, the sister Kim Jong-un, also a prominent figure within the North Korean political elite, has sent a diametrically opposite message. According to several news agencies that have paraphrased it, including Reuters and the BBC, Kim Yo-jong has stated that the proposal is interesting and admirable. However, immediately afterwards, in the same statement initially published by the North Korean state agency KCNA, it has attacked its southern neighbor and added that Pyongyang will only be willing to “sit face to face and declare the crucial end of the war” if “South Korea sets aside its double standards, its unfounded prejudices, its bad habits and its hostile behavior, all of which it has used to justify its own actions by claiming self-defense.”
For the youngest of the Kim, the solution may be considered if “it truly manages to end the instability that has reigned in the peninsula since the armistice” and “with the continuous confrontations between both parties.”
In this regard, during his speech to the UN General Assembly, Moon stressed that the conclusion of the conflict could “mean great progress in denuclearization [de la región] and lead towards an era of peace ”. The Kim Jong-un regime demands for this that the White House eliminate the economic sanctions that hang over their nation, while Washington alleges that Pyongyang must renounce its nuclear program for arms purposes so that negotiations can advance.
US President Joe Biden also addressed the Assembly that day and stated that his Administration is “seeking through diplomacy the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” “We want to achieve concrete progress with a plan that reflects a real commitment, that guarantees the stability of the peninsula and the region, and that contributes to improving the lives of the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” added the North American president.
Moon Jae-in is running out of time to achieve one of the main goals that he has outlined throughout his term before the presidential elections are held, in March next year, in which his successor will be elected. . Despite the fact that in 2018 the hope of signing an agreement was stoked after the historic handshake of the rulers of both Koreas, very little progress has been made since then in order to establish peaceful bilateral ties. Equally disappointing for those who bet on a definitive solution to the discord were the three meetings between then-US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, which did not yield conclusive ideas to put the peace process on track. The talks have been stalled since June 2019.
“It seems that North Korea continues to weigh all the options while keeping the door open for dialogue, because it tenses the situation, but without going too far, enough so that the US does not break contact completely,” Moon told the media when He was preparing to return to Seoul from New York.
This week, the director of the UN Atomic Energy Commission affirmed that Pyongyang’s nuclear program is “going full steam ahead” and that, despite affirming its willingness to engage in dialogue, its actions demonstrate rather the opposite. Last week, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles after testing a long-range cruise missile days earlier. South Korea and the United States complied throughout the month of August with joint military exercises that they carry out on a regular basis, necessary, according to both governments, due to the threat posed by the North Korean nuclear program.
Both the United States and China, both signatories of the 1953 armistice, have reiterated their willingness to officially support the end of the war. The Pentagon reported Wednesday that Washington wants to debate the proposal, while China’s Foreign Ministry said on the same day that it supports “the efforts of all parties involved to that end.”
Follow all the international information at Facebook and Twitter, o en our weekly newsletter.