North Korea has sent a message to the US, warning President Joe Biden’s administration against “causing a stink at its first step”.
North Korea has issued a message to America, warning President Joe Biden and his administration against “causing a stink at its first step”, hours after the White House said it had not received a response to its outreach to Pyongyang.
Leader Kim Jong-un’s influential sister, Kim Yo Jong – a key adviser to her brother – offered “a word of advice to the new administration of the United States that is struggling to spread the smell of gunpowder on our land”.
“If it wants to sleep in peace for (the) coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step,” she said, according to Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmum newspaper.
The warning came as Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Japan on their first overseas trip, aimed at rallying military alliances as a bulwark against China and cementing a united front against the nuclear-armed North Korea with visits to key allies Tokyo and Seoul.
“Diplomacy is always our goal. Our goal is to reduce the risk of escalation. But, to date, we have not received any response,” she told reporters, adding that the outreach “follows over a year without active dialogue with North Korea, despite multiple attempts by the US to engage”.
During Mr Trump’s presidency, he and Mr Kim enjoyed a bromance of sorts – though Mr Kim was ultimately not convinced to give up his ballistic missiles.
The former president previously claimed that Mr Kim wrote him “beautiful letters” and that they “fell in love”.
At their worst, however, Mr Trump threatened to rain “fire and fury” down on the leader and taunted him with his “bigger and more powerful” nuclear button – while Mr Kim called Mr Trump a deranged “dotard”.
Shortly before Mr Biden’s January inauguration, Mr Kim also decried the US as his country’s “foremost principal enemy”.
Before Ms Kim’s message, experts told CNN that Pyongyang will likely rebuff any diplomatic efforts for the timebeing for reasons including the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden team’s ongoing North Korea policy review, the meetings in the region and the administration’s rhetoric.
US officials have said that their goal is “the complete denuclearisation of North Korea”, which experts told the network is “a non-starter”.
“Every time we use that phrase it’s a five yard penalty, because the North Koreans never agreed to it,” associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vipin Narang, said.
Senior expert on North Korea at the US Institute of Peace, Frank Aum, said that while it’s “fine” for America to “hold the long term goal of denuclearisation, complete denuclearisation for North Korea, but I think the way you message that is going to be very important”.
“It has to be nuanced because you can’t just say, you know, we want to have talks, and the talks are going to be about North Korea’s complete denuclearisation, because that sounds very one sided,” he added.
He also suggested that North Koreans could be signalling “that they want to engage with the US at a higher level, because there’s been the precedent that was set with the leader-level summits between Trump and Kim”.
Kim Jong-un will reportedly keep a close eye on the meetings in Seoul and Tokyo between Mr Blinken and Mr Austin and their Japanese and South Korean counterparts.
Despite his sister’s warning to the Biden administration, though, North Korea did not greet the arrival of the new US president with a test of their missiles or weaponry, as is often the case.
Mr Aum said he didn’t think they’d “want to do anything to provoke the US prior to some greater signal that the US is going to take a very hostile approach”.
– with AFP