North Korea says Japan’s Kishida wants to meet Kim Jong Un By Reuters

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© Reuters. Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, arrives at the Vostochny Сosmodrome for a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in eastern Amur region, Russia, September 13, 2023. Sputnik /

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said on Monday that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had announced his intention to meet the North Korean leader, state media said.

But Kim said normalizing relations between the two countries will depend on whether Japan, which occupied the Korean peninsula from 1910-45, can make effective political decisions.

“The prime minister should know that just because he wants to and has made a decision, it does not mean that he can or the leadership of our country will meet him,” Kim said in a report by KCNA in Korea.

It was reported that Kishida announced his intention through “another channel”, without giving details.

“What is clear is that if Japan opposes the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and violates its sovereignty, it will be considered our enemy and will become part of our agenda,” Kim added.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of the North. The relationship between the two countries has been strained due to the conflict that started in Japan.

Koreans have accused Japan of forcing women to work in Japanese military camps and forced labor, among other things.

Asked about media reports on Kim’s comments, Kishida reiterated the importance of the meeting to address issues such as the issue of Japanese citizens who were abducted by Pyongyang’s proxies decades ago.

“Nothing has been decided yet,” Kishida told reporters on Monday when asked about the meeting.

North Korea admitted in 2002 that it had kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens decades earlier. The five abductees and their families later returned to Japan, claiming that the others had died.

However, Tokyo believes 17 Japanese nationals were abducted, and is continuing to investigate what happened to those who did not return, according to Japanese media.

Japan’s chief government spokesman, Yoshimasa Hayashi, said North Korea’s claim that the abduction issue had been resolved was “absolutely unacceptable”, underscoring the obstacles it could pose to improving relations.

Kishida has said he wants to hold talks with Kim Jong Un “with no strings attached” and is personally overseeing efforts to hold the first meeting in 20 years.

A South Korean foreign ministry official, who asked not to be identified, said Seoul was in close discussions with Tokyo on a number of issues related to North Korea, including ties between Japan and the North.

“South Korea, the US and Japan are working closely together to get North Korea back on track for denuclearization,” the official said in a statement.

North Korea has long been banned from testing nuclear weapons and detonating nuclear weapons by the 15-member UN Security Council. It has been subject to UN sanctions since 2006.

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

“If Japan … makes a political decision to open a new way to develop relations based on mutual respect and mutual respect, it is my opinion that the two countries will open a new future,” KCNA quoted him as saying.

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