Kim Jo Yong, the powerful sister of the North Korean leader, says the country will not “exchange” its “honour”.
North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, has flatly rejected an offer from South Korea to help boost the isolated country’s economy if it gives up its nuclear weapons.
Kim’s comments are the first time a senior North Korean official has commented directly on what South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has dubbed a “bold plan” under which the South would offer gradual economic aid to Pyongyang if denuclearization began.
Yoon reiterated the offer Wednesday at a news conference to mark his first 100 days in office.
“It would have been more favorable for his image to keep his mouth shut,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement carried by state news agency KCNA, calling Yoon “really simple and still childish” to think he could trade economic cooperation for north honor and nuclear weapons.
“No one trades their destiny for corn pie,” he added.
Experts say Yoon’s economic plan echoes proposals by previous South Korean presidents, including during the failed 2018 and 2019 summits between then-US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. and they said there was little chance that Pyongyang would accept it.
The North invests a large portion of its GDP in weapons programs and has long made clear that it views its nuclear capability as self-defense and necessary to protect itself against the “hostile” policies of the United States and South Korea. , and Japan.
“Yoon’s initiative adds to a long list of failed deals involving promises by South Korea to provide economic benefits to North Korea… These were the same assumptions behind a succession of efforts failed to initiate denuclearization talks,” Scott Snyder, a senior member. at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, he said in a blog post Thursday.
“The acuteness of North Korea’s economic vulnerability will make the leadership even more resistant to South Korea’s proposed infrastructure projects,” he added.
“Even though he may knock on the door with what big plan in the future, since his ‘bold plan’ doesn’t work, let’s make it clear that we will not sit face to face with him,” Kim Yo Jong said of Yoon.
The KCNA report also confirmed that North Korea tested two cruise missiles at sea on Wednesday.
They were the first tests in weeks and followed Kim’s declaration of “victory” over the COVID-19 pandemic.
North Korea has conducted an unprecedented wave of weapons tests this year, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time since 2017.
Pyongyang is prohibited from conducting ballistic missile tests under international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program.
It last tested a nuclear weapon in September 2017; however, South Korean and US officials believe preparations for a new nuclear test are underway.