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N. Korea, US remain apart over summit

By Yi Whan-woo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful sister downplayed the possibility of another summit between her brother and U.S. President Donald Trump this year, saying it was "unnecessary" and "useless."

Kim Yo-jong
Kim Yo-jong
The statement by Kim Yo-jong, the North's de facto No. 2, came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday he was "very hopeful" about resuming talks with North Korea including a summit between the leaders of the two countries.

"This is my personal opinion but any summit between the U.S. and North Korea will not take place this year," Kim Yo-jong said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency. "As long as there is no decisive change in the U.S. position, a summit between the DPRK and the U.S. is unnecessary and useless this year, and in the future at least for us."

Kim's view reiterates Pyongyang's declarations that it would not "gift" an additional summit, following the previous three from 2018 to 2019, to Trump if it does not get something substantial in return.

The U.S. has been rejecting the North's demand to lift sanctions before Pyongyang begins any denuclearization.

Kim, however, said, her view does not mean the North is "not going to denuclearize, but that we cannot denuclearize now."

She also left door open for dialogue in the future, saying "a surprise thing may still happen" depending upon the "judgment and decision" of the two top leaders.

The framework of sanctions relief for denuclearization, according to Kim, should be changed to a resumption of North Korea-U.S. negotiations for the "withdrawal of hostilities" and the U.S. should take "major steps."

"It is entirely up to the U.S. whether or not they will fall into a messy situation and face trouble," she said, adding, "The U.S. will be worried they might receive a Christmas gift near the elections."

In Washington, D.C., Thursday, Pompeo said the U.S. was continuing its efforts to re-establish dialogue with Pyongyang when asked about whether another Kim-Trump summit would be possible before the U.S. presidential election in November.

"We're very hopeful that we can continue to have this conversation, whether that's at levels beneath the summit, or, if it's appropriate and there is a useful activity to take place, to have senior leaders get back together as well," he said.

He, however, declined to provide specifics, by saying, "As for who, how and timing, I just don't want to talk about that today."


By Yi Whan-woo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful sister downplayed the possibility of another summit between her brother and U.S. President Donald Trump this year, saying it was "unnecessary" and "useless."

Kim Yo-jong
Kim Yo-jong
The statement by Kim Yo-jong, the North's de facto No. 2, came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday he was "very hopeful" about resuming talks with North Korea including a summit between the leaders of the two countries.

"This is my personal opinion but any summit between the U.S. and North Korea will not take place this year," Kim Yo-jong said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency. "As long as there is no decisive change in the U.S. position, a summit between the DPRK and the U.S. is unnecessary and useless this year, and in the future at least for us."

Kim's view reiterates Pyongyang's declarations that it would not "gift" an additional summit, following the previous three from 2018 to 2019, to Trump if it does not get something substantial in return.

The U.S. has been rejecting the North's demand to lift sanctions before Pyongyang begins any denuclearization.

Kim, however, said, her view does not mean the North is "not going to denuclearize, but that we cannot denuclearize now."

She also left door open for dialogue in the future, saying "a surprise thing may still happen" depending upon the "judgment and decision" of the two top leaders.

The framework of sanctions relief for denuclearization, according to Kim, should be changed to a resumption of North Korea-U.S. negotiations for the "withdrawal of hostilities" and the U.S. should take "major steps."

"It is entirely up to the U.S. whether or not they will fall into a messy situation and face trouble," she said, adding, "The U.S. will be worried they might receive a Christmas gift near the elections."

In Washington, D.C., Thursday, Pompeo said the U.S. was continuing its efforts to re-establish dialogue with Pyongyang when asked about whether another Kim-Trump summit would be possible before the U.S. presidential election in November.

"We're very hopeful that we can continue to have this conversation, whether that's at levels beneath the summit, or, if it's appropriate and there is a useful activity to take place, to have senior leaders get back together as well," he said.

He, however, declined to provide specifics, by saying, "As for who, how and timing, I just don't want to talk about that today."


Yi Whan-woo yistory@koreatimes.co.kr

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