N. Korea will "respond willingly" if US permanently halts "hostile policies," N. Korean ambassador to UN says

한겨레 2021. 9. 29. 17:16
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Kim's remarks could be seen as him using the UN as a platform to reiterate the same demands shared by Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee Deputy Director Kim Yo-jong in a statement on Saturday, where she alluded to the possibility of an end-of-war declaration and an inter-Korean summit while calling for the removal of "hostile policy" and "double standards."

Kim Song also said North Korea was "prepared to respond willingly at any time" if the US "shows its bold decision to give up its hostile policy."

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In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Kim Song listed the joint military exercises and the US deployment of strategic weapons to the Korean Peninsula as concrete examples of hostile policies that must be withdrawn to allow for an end-of-war declaration
North Korea’s UN Ambassador Kim Song speaks during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP/Yonhap News)

North Korean Ambassador to the UN Kim Song said Monday that North Korea would reciprocate if the US permanently halted its joint military exercises and deployment of strategic weapons to the Korean Peninsula.

His remarks reaffirmed Pyongyang’s position insisting on the removal of “hostile policies” toward the North to allow for a declaration ending the Korean War, which South Korean President Moon Jae-in has shared his hopes of achieving.

Kim addressed the general debate of the 76th UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on Monday.

“If the US [. . .] is really desirous of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, it should take the first step towards giving up its hostile policy against [North Korea] by stopping permanently the joint military exercises and the deployment of all kinds of strategic weapons which are leveled at [North Korea] in and around the Korean Peninsula,” he said

“I am convinced that a good prospect will be opened for the [North Korea-US] relations and the inter-Korean relations if the US refrains from threatening [North Korea] and gives up its hostility toward it,” he added.

Kim’s remarks could be seen as him using the UN as a platform to reiterate the same demands shared by Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee Deputy Director Kim Yo-jong in a statement on Saturday, where she alluded to the possibility of an end-of-war declaration and an inter-Korean summit while calling for the removal of “hostile policy” and “double standards.”

Particularly noteworthy were his explicit references to joint South Korea-US military exercises and strategic weapon deployment as concrete examples of “hostile policy.”

Kim Song also said North Korea was “prepared to respond willingly at any time” if the US “shows its bold decision to give up its hostile policy.”

“It is our judgment that there is no prospect, at the present stage, for the US to really withdraw its hostile policy toward [North Korea],” he said, adding that “[North Korea] would not implore the US to abandon its hostility towards us.”

He warned that the situation may end up “unfavorable” if the US “continues to commit such acts to threaten us to quarrel more often than not and depending on the legacy of the Cold War.”

But neither South Korea nor the US appears likely to take the first step in meeting the North’s demands.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has signaled to North Korea that it is ready to meet without preconditions, but it also has no intention of offering “gifts” before the North takes any action to denuclearize.

With the joint military exercises considered a necessary step to prepare for the transfer of wartime operational control back to South Korea, Seoul is unlikely to make the decision to suspend them permanently, although it could conceivably agree to a pause or reduction in scale.

By Hwang Joon-bum, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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