North Korea rejects South’s ‘bold’ economic aid plan

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attends the wreath laying ceremony at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam March 2, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/Pool/File Photo

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SEOUL, Aug 19 (Reuters) – North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of leader Kim Jong Un, said on Friday the country would never deal with a South Korean proposal to boost the North’s economy in exchange for the abandonment of nuclear weapons.

His comments mark the first time a senior North Korean official has directly commented on a “bold plan” first proposed by South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol in May.

They came after Yoon repeated at a press conference on Wednesday to mark his first 100 days that he was ready to provide gradual economic aid to North Korea if it ended the development of nuclear weapons and began the denuclearization. Read more

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“To think that the plan to trade ‘economic cooperation’ for our honor, nuclear weapons, is Yoon’s great dream, hope and plan, we have come to realize that it is really simple and still childish. “, said Kim Yo Jong in a KCNA. statement. “No one trades their destiny for a corn cake.”

“While he may be knocking on the door with what a grand plan going forward as his ‘bold plan’ isn’t working, we make it clear that we won’t sit face to face with him,” she said.

Experts say the South’s latest economic plan is similar to proposals from previous presidents, including those at summits between then-US President Donald Trump and former North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, suggesting that the North would probably not accept the offer.

“Yoon’s initiative adds to a long list of failed deals involving South Korean promises to provide economic benefits to North Korea…These are the same assumptions that were behind the a succession of unsuccessful efforts to revive denuclearization talks,” Scott Snyder, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said in a blog post Thursday.

“The acuteness of North Korea’s economic vulnerability will make leaders all the more resistant to South Korea’s proposed infrastructure projects,” he added.

North Korea, meanwhile, tested two cruise missiles in the sea on Wednesday, the first such test in two months. It came after the country declared victory over COVID-19 last week. Read more

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Reporting by Joori Roh; Editing by Richard Pullin

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