North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he is willing to restore a hotline between the two Koreas, but he says Seoul must drop its “delusion” that its northern neighbor wants to cause it any harm or provoke.
North Korean state media KCNA reported on Thursday that Kim had expressed interest in reviving the severed telephone channels from October “as part of the efforts for realizing the expectations and desire of the entire Korean nation to see the earlier recovery of the north-south relations … and durable peace settling in the Korean peninsula.”
Speaking at the Supreme People’s Assembly, Kim remarked that inter-Korean relations “stand at a crossroads”. According to him, ties must either take the course of advancing towards reconciliation and cooperation, or suffer national division “amid a vicious cycle of confrontation.”
Pyongyang refused to answer a routine call in August in protest over joint South Korea-US military drills being held, with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, accusing Seoul of engaging in “perfidious behavior.”
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The refusal followed the reopening of the channel in June, after the connection had been severed a year earlier due to bad relations between the two countries. Following the decision to cut ties, North Korea blew up an inter-Korean border office in Kaesong that facilitated communication.
The North Korean leader now says that restoration depends on the attitude of Seoul’s authorities. He added that Pyongyang has “neither aim nor reason” to provoke its southerly neighbor.
“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.”
Kim also accused Seoul and the US of destroying the stability and balance of the peninsula and causing more complicated dangers through excessive military presence and activities.
Taking special aim at Washington, Kim accused the White House of proposing talks with Pyongyang without changing its “hostile policy” and even using “more cunning ways and methods.” However, the US rebuffed Kim’s claims and urged for the nation to return to dialogue, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
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North Korea has launched several projectiles in recent weeks, with Pyongyang firing a new “hypersonic missile” off its east coast on Tuesday. Earlier this month, one test reportedly involved deploying a long-range cruise missile, as well as a newly developed rail-borne warhead.
Seoul also recently fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile; Pyongyang blasted its southerly neighbor’s attempt as “sloppy” and “self-comforting,” warning that this could derail the peninsula’s peace.
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