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Tuesday, December 12 2023

Seoul closely monitoring Kim Jong-un’s increased messages toward US

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Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has publicly mentioned the US more often recently, drawing attention to Pyongyang’s next move amid a prolonged deadlock in their nuclear talks, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said on Monday October 18.

The Ministry made the assessment in a report to lawmakers for an annual parliamentary audit, calling for an “active response” to resume dialogue in the face of growing volatility in the region, reports Yonhap News Agency.

North Korea conducted four new missile tests in September alone, including what it called a “hypersonic” missile and a long-range cruise missile.

“North Korea’s following moves on the US require attention as leader Kim Jong-un’s messages on the US have recently increased as well as become more detailed,” the Ministry said in the report.

The assessment came a week after Kim said there are no grounds to believe why Washington is not hostile toward Pyongyang, though adding that neither South Korea nor the US is its “arch-enemy.”

The Ministry report also came amid a series of diplomatic activities surrounding the Korean Peninsula with top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the US and Japan set to meet in Washington this week.

In Seoul, the intelligence chiefs of the three countries were to gather for closed-door talks during which they are expected to discuss North Korea, among other issues.

Referring to the restoration of the inter-Korean liaison and military hotlines earlier this month, the Ministry said the North appears to be seeking ways to resume external activities.

The denuclearization negotiations between the US and North Korea have stalled since the collapse of the Hanoi summit between Kim and then American President Donald Trump in February 2019.

Regarding North Korea’s long-enforced tight border controls due to the pandemic, the Ministry said the North is preparing to reopen its train routes with China.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that it has begun the shipment of Covid-19 medical supplies to North Korea through the Chinese port of Dalian.

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