- Kim Yo Jong called for large concessions from Washington to keep the nuclear negotiations alive.
- Kim Yo Jong made the remarks at a time when the highest-ranking US official for the region is in Asia.
- Trump and Kim Jong-un have met three times since they entered into nuclear negotiations in 2018.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s influential sister, Kim Yo Jong, says she doesn’t expect her brother to meet with United States President Donald Trump this year. She noted that she sees no reason why her country would give Trump such high profile encounters without receiving a fair reward in return.
“But, also, you never know,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement released through the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), in which she called for large concessions from Washington to keep the nuclear negotiations alive. “That’s because a surprise thing may still happen, depending upon the judgement and decision between the two top leaders.”
She added that if there is a need for summit talks, it is a U.S. need, while for North Korea, it is “unpractical and does not serve us at all.” Kim Yo Jong is not only the Korean leader’s sister but is also seen by many as her brother’s closest friend as well as confidant. She was recently confirmed as his highest-ranking official in inter-Korean affairs. She is also the first vice-departmental director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
Kim Yo Jong made the remarks at a time when the highest-ranking US official for the region is in Asia. The US’s Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun visited Japan after meeting with South Korean authorities in Seoul, where he accused a senior North Korean nuclear negotiator of having outdated ideas.
“I’ve seen some press comments that the North Koreans are not prepared to meet with me on this visit,” Biegun told reporters after talks with his South Korean counterpart. “It’s somewhat strange because we did not request a visit with North Koreans,” he said. “Let me absolutely be clear, we did not request a visit,” he reiterated at the time.
His statements indicate that Washington may not be inclined to grant concessions to resume negotiations despite pressure from Pyongyang. North Korea has twice in the past week explicitly stated that it is not keen on any further talks with the U.S., stating that any other summit would merely be beneficial to Trump’s domestic political situation.
“Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the U.S.,” said Kwon Jong Gun, a North Korean foreign ministry official, in an article in the state-run KCNA on Tuesday.
Trump and Kim Jong-un have met three times since they entered into nuclear negotiations in 2018. However, the talks have dissipated since their second meeting in February 2019, when the Americans rejected North Korean demands for major sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capability.
Their first meeting was in 2018, during a the famous Singapore Summit, which was held at the Capella Hotel, Sentosa, Singapore, on June 12, 2018. Thanks to the Summit, Trump made history as the first U.S. president to meet a North Korean head of state.