|North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un with his sister Kim Yo Jong.|
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's well-known sister said Friday that her country is prepared to restart negotiations with South Korea if the latter does not irritate the North with hostile actions and double standards.
Kim Yo Jong made the comment in response to South Korean President Moon Jae-repeated's efforts for a proclamation ending the 1950-53 Korean War as a means of restoring peace.
Her offer came only days after North Korea conducted its first missile testing in six months and South Korea conducted its first submarine-launched missile test.
"If (South) Korea distances itself from the past, when it provoked and criticized us at every turn with its double standards, and restores sincerity in its words and actions, abandoning its hostility, we will be willing to resume close communication and constructive discussions about restoring and developing relations," Kim Yo Jong said.
"We must assure mutual respect toward one another and reject biased ideas, severely antagonistic practices, and unjust double standards toward the other side first," she stated in order to reach the end-of-war proclamation.
Her remarks contrasted with a frank statement made earlier Friday by a top North Korean official, who said the end-of-war proclamation might be used as a "smokescreen covering up the US hostile policy" against the North.
American weaponry and personnel stationed in South Korea and its environs, as well as frequent US military manoeuvres in the region, "all point to the US hostile policy against (North Korea) becoming more savage day by day," according to Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song. North Korea has long viewed US-led economic restrictions as evidence of US animosity against the country.
South Korea's Unification Ministry responded to Ri's remark by saying it will keep working to accept the end-of-war declaration and boost cooperation with relevant nations. Declaring the war to be over would be "a very important move," according to Cha Duck Chul, a deputy ministry spokesperson because it would serve as a beginning point for peace talks and disarmament on the peninsula.
The Korean War came to a close with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the peninsula technically at war. North Korea has insisted on signing a peace treaty with the United States in order to formally end the conflict and strengthen ties in the future.
According to some analysts, the peace treaty may allow North Korea to demand that the US withdraw its 28,500 soldiers from South Korea and relieve sanctions.
During the period of diplomacy with the US that began in 2018, both Koreas had called for an end-of-war declaration and a peace treaty to be signed, and there was speculation that then-President Donald Trump might announce the war's end in early 2019 to persuade North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to commit to denuclearization.