The Korea Herald


N. Korea refuses all contact, including summit, with Japan

By Yonhap

Published : March 26, 2024 - 19:20

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Kim Yo-jong (Herald DB) Kim Yo-jong (Herald DB)

North Korea will refuse all contact with Japan, after Tokyo took issue with the problem of Japanese abductees and the North's nuclear program, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Tuesday.

Kim Yo-jong, vice department director of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, made the remark in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, a day after she said Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had expressed a willingness to hold a summit with her brother.

"It was the Japanese side that knocked at the door first requesting 'the Japan-DPRK summit without preconditions,' and the DPRK only clarified its stand that it would welcome Japan if it is ready to make a new start, not being obsessed by the past," she said in an English-language statement, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The Japanese chief cabinet secretary, however, held a press conference Monday stating Tokyo's stand that "it can never accept the fact that the abduction issue was settled," she said.

"Letting out the expression of pending nuclear and missile issue which has nothing to do with it, it tried to interfere in and take issue with the exercise of sovereignty belonging to the DPRK's legitimate self-defense," she added.

The two countries have long been at odds over the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korea in the 1970s and 80s to train spies in Japanese culture and language.

The North later allowed five of the abductees to visit their homeland and claimed eight others were dead, but Tokyo has dismissed the claim and vowed to secure their safe return.

"The DPRK government has clearly understood once again the attitude of Japan and, accordingly, the DPRK side will pay no attention to and reject any contact and negotiations with the Japanese side," Kim said. "The DPRK-Japan summit is not a matter of concern to the DPRK."

In February, Kim said the North Korean regime was open to improving its relationship with Japan in response to Kishida's remarks that he felt a "strong need" to change the current relationship between Tokyo and Pyongyang.

On Tuesday, she accused the Japanese prime minister of using the two countries' relations for political gain amid low approval ratings.

"Japan has no courage to change history, promote regional peace and stability and take the first step for the fresh DPRK-Japan relations," she said. (Yonhap)