By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) — Another summit with the United States is “unnecessary” and “useless” for North Korea as long as there is no change in Washington’s negotiating position, the sister of leader Kim Jong-un said Friday.
Kim Yo-jong made the remark in a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency after U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this week that he would hold another summit with the North’s leader “if I thought it was going to be helpful.”
“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. “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.”
That, however, does not mean that the North is not going to denuclearize, she said.
“We are not saying we are not going to denuclearize, but that we cannot denuclearize now,” she said, calling on the U.S. to take “major steps.”
She also called for the U.S. to drop its “hostile policy” toward the North.
“I believe that the framework of sanctions relief for denuclearization underlying in the past negotiations between North Korea and the U.S. should be changed to ‘resumption of North Korea-U.S. negotiations for withdrawal of hostilities.”
Kim also said the North won’t go back to its previous proposal to give up its Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for sanctions relief from the U.S. The North made the proposal during last year’s summit in Hanoi, but the meeting broke down without a deal as the U.S. demanded the North give up more nuclear facilities.
Nuclear talks between the U.S. and the North have stalled since the no-deal summit.
Kim warned that it is “entirely up to the U.S. whether or not they will fall into a messy situation and face trouble,” saying, “The U.S. will be worried they might receive a Christmas gift near the elections.”
She also said that the personal feelings that leader Kim has toward Trump are “undoubtedly solid and excellent,” but the North should not adjust its U.S. strategies and nuclear plans based on relations with the U.S. president.
Leader Kim also asked her to extend greetings wishing Trump success in his endeavors, she said.
Talk of another Trump-Kim summit gained traction after South Korean President Moon Jae-in told European leaders last month that he would work to make one happen before the U.S. presidential election in November.
Former U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton also said Trump could meet with Kim if he believes a summit would help his reelection chances. Such a meeting could happen as an “October surprise” just before the election, he said.
On Tuesday, Trump said he’s open to a meeting with Kim.
“I understand they want to meet and we would certainly do that,” Trump said in an interview with Gray Television’s Greta Van Susteren, according to Voice of America and other news reports. “I would do it if I thought it was going to be helpful.
Asked if he thinks such a meeting would be helpful, Trump said, “Probably. I have a very good relationship with him, (so it) probably would be.”
Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed hope for continuing talks with the U.S.
“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. “As for who and how and timing, I just don’t want to talk about that today.”