The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday rejected Seoul’s offer of economic aid in exchange for denuclearization as the “top of absurdity” and dismissed the possibility of face-to-face talks.
The statement follows South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol who this week put forward a “daring” relief plan that would include food, energy and infrastructure aid in exchange for the North’s abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.
Analysts previously said the likelihood of Pyongyang accepting such an offer — first raised during Yoon’s inaugural address — was paramount, as the North, which invests much of its GDP in weapons programs, is already has long made it clear that it is not that trade.
Kim Jong Un’s sister, Yo Jong, called Yoon’s offer on Friday “the height of absurdity,” adding that the entire premise that the North would voluntarily put its nuclear program on the table was wrong.
“To think that the plan to trade ‘economic cooperation’ for our honor, (our) nuclear weapons, is Yoon’s great dream, hope and plan, we came to realize that he is very simple and still childish, she said in a statement from the official Korea Central News Agency.
“We make it clear that we will not be face to face with him,” she added.
North Korea has conducted a record number of weapons tests this year, including firing an intercontinental ballistic missile at full range for the first time since 2017.
Washington and South Korean officials have repeatedly warned that the North is preparing to conduct what would be its seventh nuclear test.
Last week, Pyongyang threatened to “wipe out” Seoul authorities over a recent Covid-19 outbreak, less than a month after leader Kim Jong Un said his country was “ready to mobilize its nuclear capability” in a war with the United States and the South.
Yoon said on Wednesday his government had no plans to pursue its own nuclear deterrent, even when Pyongyang tested two cruise missiles on the same day.
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