North Korean leader willing to restore hotlines with South Korea

Kim Jong Un also accuses United States of proposing talks without changing its "hostile policy".

Elad Benari ,

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he is willing to restore severed inter-Korean hotlines next month, but accused the United States of proposing talks without changing its "hostile policy" to the country, Reuters reported, citing North Korea’s official KCNA news agency.

Kim made the remarks at the country's parliament, the Supreme People's Assembly, which gathered for a second day to discuss the country's political, economic and social agenda.

In his remarks, the North Korean leader expressed his willingness to reconnect inter-Korean hotlines starting from October, while criticizing the South's "delusion" over what it calls military provocations from the North.

North Korea severed the hotlines in early August in protest against joint South Korea-US military drills.

Kim said in his comments that the decision to reactivate the lines is to help "realize the expectations and desire of the entire Korean nation" for recovery and durable peace in cross-border relations.

"We have neither aim nor reason to provoke South Korea and no idea to harm it," he added.

"It is necessary for South Korea to promptly get rid of the delusion, crisis awareness and awareness of getting harmed that it should deter the North's provocation."

At the same time, Kim took a tougher tone toward Washington, accusing President Joe Biden's new administration of "employing more cunning ways and methods" in pursuing military threats and a hostile policy towards North Korea, while still offering talks.

"The US 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 US administrations," Kim charged.

Former US President Donald Trump tried to reach an agreement with North Korea while in office. Kim and Trump met in Hanoi in 2019 for a summit that left nuclear talks at a standstill.

The pair had met three times since June 2018 but made little progress towards denuclearization.

The new Biden administration reached out to North Korea but the country did not respond to those overtures.

In Biden’s first policy speech to Congress, he said nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran posed threats that would be addressed through “diplomacy and stern deterrence”.

Responding to that speech, North Korea dismissed the idea of talks with Washington, saying Biden’s speech was “intolerable” and “a big blunder."



top