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Trump’s birthday greetings to Kim not enough to restart talks: N. Korea

Kim Jong-un

Kim Jong-un  

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Pyongyang seeks concessions from U.S. for resumption

North Korea has received birthday greetings to its leader Kim Jong-un from U.S. President Donald Trump, but their personal relationship is not enough for a return to talks, according to a statement published by state news agency KCNA.

The comments on Saturday come against the backdrop of stalled denuclearisation talks following a flurry of diplomacy between the U.S. and North Korea in 2018 and early 2019.

While Mr. Kim could personally like Mr. Trump, he would not lead his country on the basis of personal feelings, Kim Kye-gwan, an adviser to the North Korean Foreign Ministry, said in the statement. “Although Chairman Kim Jong-un has good personal feelings about President Trump, they are, in the true sense of the word, ‘personal’,” he said. “We have been deceived by the United States, being caught in the dialogue with it for over one year and a half, and that was the lost time for us.”

North Korea will not discuss proposals such as those Mr. Trump made at his last summit with Mr. Kim in Hanoi in February 2019, the Foreign Ministry adviser said. The North will not give up its nuclear facilities for partial sanctions relief, and will only return to talks when the U.S. makes concessions, he added. “The reopening of dialogue between the DPRK and the U.S. may be possible only under the condition of the latter’s absolute agreement on the issues raised by the former, but we know well that the U.S. is neither ready nor able to do so.”

‘Seoul not a mediator’

The North Korean adviser also cautioned South Korea to steer clear of ties between the North and the U.S., saying it should not seek “to play a mediator role”.

On Friday, a South Korean official said Mr. Trump had asked the South Koreans to pass on birthday greetings to North Korea. For South Korea to meddle in personal relations between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump was “presumptuous”, the North Korean adviser said, adding that the North had already directly received from Mr. Trump a letter with the greetings.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 11:32:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/trumps-birthday-greetings-to-kim-not-enough-to-restart-talks-n-korea/article30544988.ece

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