U.S. restates importance of dialogue after N. Korea says Kishida seeks summit with Kim

By Song Sang-ho

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Yonhap) — The United States on Monday reiterated the importance of dialogue with North Korea, after Pyongyang claimed Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has expressed his intention for a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of the North Korean leader, said that Kishida recently made the proposal to personally meet the reclusive leader as soon as possible, according to the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

“We have been very clear about the importance of dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK,” a State Department spokesperson said in response to a question from Yonhap News Agency. DPRK stands for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We would refer you to the Japanese government regarding reports of diplomatic engagement between Japan and the DPRK,” the spokesperson added.

Kishida has repeatedly expressed his intention to meet “unconditionally” with Kim, spawning speculation that he may seek to use the potential summit to address the long-festering issue of Japanese nationals abducted by the North in the 1970s and 80s.

In her statement, Kim Yo-jong reiterated the North’s stance that it does not want to have further discussion on the abduction issue, which she said “has no further settlement.”

“If Japan is mulling interfering in the exercise of our sovereign right as now, being engrossed in the abduction issue that has no further settlement and way to know, the prime minister can not but meet a criticism that his design is little short of a bid for popularity,” Kim said according to an English-language statement released by KCNA.

The State Department in Washington. (Yonhap)

The State Department in Washington. (Yonhap)


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