09 February 2024

Kim Jong Un says he has no desire for diplomacy with South Korea

09 February 2024

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un restated he has no desire for diplomacy with South Korea and that the North would annihilate its rival if provoked, according to state media.

The latest of his belligerent statements came during a visit to North Korea’s Defence Ministry on Thursday.

Mr Kim said his recent moves to cut ties with South Korea will allow his military to take on a more aggressive posture “by securing lawfulness to strike and destroy (the South) whenever triggered”.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased in recent months with Mr Kim elevating his weapons demonstrations and threats and the US, South Korea and Japan strengthening their combined military exercises in response.

The official Korean Central News Agency reported Mr Kim said he took the initiative to “shake off the unrealistic pretence of dialogue and co-operation with the (South) Korean puppets who sought the collapse of our republic”.

The agency said he was accompanied on the visit by his daughter, thought to be named Kim Ju Ae, who some experts believe is being groomed as a future leader.

Mr Kim’s remarks came weeks after he declared to his rubber-stamp parliament that North Korea was abandoning its long-standing objective of a peaceful unification with South Korea and ordered the rewriting of its constitution to cement the South as its most hostile foreign adversary.

The North has since shut down government departments that handled affairs with the South, tore down a major unification monument and abolished laws that had governed past economic projects with its neighbour.

Experts say Mr Kim’s attempts to recalibrate relations with the South, which come amid a testing spree of potentially nuclear-capable weapons targeting neighbouring rivals and the US, are aimed at reducing Seoul’s voice and eventually forcing direct negotiations with Washington over the nuclear stand-off.

In a pre-recorded television interview which aired on Monday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol described Mr Kim’s government as “irrational” actors who are putting further strain on North Korea’s broken economy by aggressively expanding the country’s collection of nuclear weapons and missiles.

“We need to keep that in mind as we prepare to counter their security threats or provocations, preparing not just for actions based on rational judgments but also actions based on irrational conclusions,” Mr Yoon said.

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