North Korea rejects Seoul’s offer of aid in exchange for denuclearization



The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Friday criticized Seoul’s offer of economic aid in exchange for the communist country’s denuclearization as “the height of absurdity” and ruled out opening negotiations.

His words respond to the plan presented this week by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol to offer food, energy and infrastructure to the North if it abandons its nuclear weapons program.

Analysts had already anticipated the proposal’s slim chances of success given that Pyongyang invests much of its wealth in its military program and has repeatedly made it clear that it will not accept such a trade.

Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, called the offer “the height of absurdity” and warned that the premise that the North will negotiate on its nuclear program is false.

“Thinking that the plan to exchange ‘economic cooperation’ for our honor, our nuclear weapons, is Yoon’s big dream, hope and plan, we realized that it is really simple and still childish,” he said in a statement. published by the official agency KCNA.

“It has become clear to us that we will not sit face to face with him,” he added.

South Korea’s presidency expressed “strong regret” over Yo Jong’s “disrespectful” comments, but said the offer still stands.

“North Korea’s attitude does not in any way help the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula or its own future, and only promotes isolation,” it said in a statement.

North Korea has deployed a record number of weapons tests this year, including launching an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.

The United States and South Korea have warned that Pyongyang is preparing the seventh nuclear test in its history.

Though noted for his tough stances against the communist regime before his election in March, Yoon said Wednesday that his administration will not seek to acquire nuclear deterrent capabilities.

Cheong Seong-chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute, said Yo Jong’s remarks “clearly reaffirm” that Pyongyang will never give up its nuclear weapons and urged Seoul to review its approach to denuclearization.

“The weight of the North Korean nuclear threat that South Korea has to live with has already exceeded the level it can bear,” he said.

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