United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong recently made an unusual comment, saying that North Korea is open to improving relations with Japan. She hinted that North Korea may invite the Japanese leader to visit Pyongyang in the future. The remarks came in response to Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying not long ago that there has been a strong need to change the current relationship between the two countries.
North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim Yo Jong said that, as long as Japan abandons its bad habit of criticizing North Korea’s exercise of legitimate defense rights and stops talking about the “already resolved” issue of Japanese abductions by North Korea, the two countries can work together. However, Kim Yo Jong emphasized that this was just her personal opinion (rather than an statement from the North Korean government).
In January, Kim Jong-un sent a rare telegram to Kishida expressing condolences after the Noto earthquake in Japan. Analysts say it may be that North Korea is signaling desire for improved relations with Japan.
The Japanese government has been analyzing the content of Kim Yo Jong’s statements and has declined to comment for the time being.
The senior official for North Korea affairs at the U.S. State Department said that the U.S. supports all diplomacy and dialogue between Japan and North Korea. An official from South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that communications between Japan and North Korea should be conducive to denuclearization of North Korea as well as to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Source: UDN, February 17, 2024