N. Korea offers to talk, possibly in an effort to obtain sanctions relief

Kim Jong Un's influential sister, Kim Jong Un, said Friday that her country would resume talks with South Korea if certain conditions are met. This indicates Seoul wants Washington to ease crippling economic sanctions.

N. Korea offers to talk, possibly in an effort to obtain sanctions relief

Kim Yo Jong made the statement days after North Korea conducted its first missile test in six months. Experts said that these tests were meant to demonstrate that it will continue to increase its arsenal of weapons if the U.S.-led nuclear sanctions are continued, while nuclear diplomacy is still stalled.

While offering the talks, she mentioned South Korean President Moon Jae In's call in a speechat U.N. General Assembly for a political declaration to stop the 1950-53 Korean War in order to bring peace to the Peninsula.

Kim Yo Jong stated in a statement published by state media, "Smiling with a forced smile, reading declaration of the end of war, and having photos taken could all be essential for someone, but I think they would hold no water or would change anything, given the existing inequalities, serious contradiction therefrom, hostilities."

She stated that North Korea was willing to have "constructive" discussions with South Korea in order to repair and improve strained ties, if South Korea stops prodding the North with hostile policies and far-fetched assertions.

The Unification Ministry of South Korea said that it is reviewing Kim Yo Jong’s statement. It stated that South Korea will continue to work with North Korea to repair ties.

Nam Sung-wook is a South Korean professor at Korea University. He said that North Korea is exerting indirect pressure on Seoul to negotiate the lifting of sanctions in order to push for the end of the war.

Nam stated that it was like North Korea saying it would be open to talks on the ending of the war declaration, if the sanctions could also be lifted.

After North Korea's provocative nuclear and missile test runs in 2016-17, sanctions imposed by the U.S. have been increased. Kim Jong Un stated that the sanctions, coronavirus pandemic, and natural disasters are causing the "worst ever" crisis in North Korea.

He warned that he would increase the country's nuclear arsenal in the event the United States does not abandon its "hostile" policy toward North Korea earlier this year. This apparent reference was to the sanctions.

The United States and North Korea are technically still at war, as the Korean War ended in an armistice. North Korea has repeatedly requested that the United States sign a peace agreement with it to officially end the war. This would be a step towards improved relations in the future. Experts believe that North Korea could demand that the United States withdraw its 28500 troops from South Korea and loosen the sanctions.

Both Koreas demanded an end-of war declaration and a peace agreement during the period of diplomatic relations with the United States, which began in 2018. Rumours circulated that the former President Donald Trump could announce the end of war in 2019 to persuade Kim Jong Un to denuclearize.

The talks ended in a deadlock after Trump rejected Kim Jong Un’s demands for the lifting of toughened Sanctions in return for limited steps towards denuclearization. Experts believe that North Korea will not be able to denuclearize if the sanctions are removed.

Kim Yo Jong's invitation to talk was in stark contrast with a blunt statement made earlier Friday by a senior North Korean diplomat that the declaration of end-of-war could be a smokescreen covering up U.S. hostile policies.

While the earlier statement seemed to be directed at the U.S. the second, by Kim Yo Jong (who is responsible for North Korea's relations and Seoul), focuses more on South Korea. Both statements state that Washington and Seoul should first act and lift sanctions if they wish to see nuclear diplomacy resumed.

The stalemate in wider North Korea-U.S. diplomacy has led to a lot of deadlock between the Koreas. North Korea had earlier asked South Korea to refrain from interfering in the United States' business dealings after Seoul failed to separate Washington and restart the joint economic projects that were stalled by the sanctions.

North Korea often accuses South Korea, as well as the United States, of hypocrisy. They buy high-tech weapons and hold military drills with them.

North Korea's first ever cruise and ballistic missile test was conducted last week. It demonstrated its capability to launch strikes on South Korea, Japan and other key allies of the United States. The tests were carried out in the presence of approximately 80,000 American soldiers. North Korea has not yet launched any long-range missiles or nuclear tests that directly target America's homeland. This is a sign it wants to preserve its chances of future diplomacy with Washington.

According to Seo Yu-Seok, a Seoul-based Institute of North Korean Studies, "North Korea would believe it doesn't cross the (red line) established by the U.S. So it says it can go to negotiations if conditions are rife." For sanctions relief,

Nam stated that North Korea will likely conduct more powerful weapon tests if it is not granted sanctions relief by the United States and South Korea.

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