North Korea says Japan’s Kishida showed intention to meet Kim Jong Un recently

By Thomson Reuters Mar 24, 2024 | 11:12 PM

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said on Monday that Japanese Prime Fumio Kishida recently conveyed his intention to meet the North Korean leader soon through “another channel”, state media KCNA reported.

However, Kim said that improving bilateral relations between the two countries will depend on whether Japan can make practical political decisions.

“The prime minister should know that just because he wants to and has made a decision, it doesn’t mean he can or the leadership of our country will meet him,” Kim was quoted as saying in the KCNA report in Korean.

“What is clear is that when Japan antagonises the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and violates its sovereign rights, it is considered our enemy and will become part of the target,” Kim added.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the North’s official name.

Kishida has said he wants to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “without any preconditions” and is personally overseeing efforts to realise the first such leaders summit in 20 years.

Kim’s sister, who serves in the ruling Workers’ Party, last month said Kishida may one day visit Pyongyang.

“If Japan … makes a political decision to open a new path for improving ties based on mutual respect and respectful behaviour, it is my view that the two countries can open a new future,” KCNA quoted her saying.

(Reporting by Hyunsu Yim; Editing by Michael Perry)