North Korea has rejected South Korea’s offer of economic support in exchange for denuclearization, saying the proposal shows President Yoon Suk Yeol is “childish,” state media KCNA reported on Friday.
Yoon proposed what he called an “audacious plan” to swap economic cooperation for an end to North Korea’s nuclear program during his inauguration speech in May.
In a speech on Monday August 15, he said his government would implement a large-scale food program, provide help for power generation, enhance agriculture, and other measures to modernize North Korea’s ports, trade routes, hospitals and economy in exchange for denuclearization – which is the removal and destruction of nuclear sites and weapons.
However, in a KCNA report released Friday, August 19, Kim Yo Jong rejected the proposal and leveled personal attacks at the South Korean President.
Kim Yo Jong, a top official and the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, criticized Yoon’s offer to improve North Korea’s economy and the livelihood of its people as “pipedream-like remarks.”
“To think that the plan to barter economic cooperation for our honor, nukes, is the great dream, hope and plan of Yoon, we came to realize that he is really simple and still childish,” said Kim Yo Jong, according to KCNA.
“We make it clear that we will not sit face to face with him.” she added
South Korea’s Unification Ministry responded to the rejection, expressing “strong regret” over Kim Yo Jong’s “disrespectful comments.”
“It said North Korea had “distorted our ideas and mentioned its intention to continue nuclear development instead of responding to the audacious initiative. Such an attitude would not only threaten peace on the Korean Peninsula but worsen North Korea’s own economic situation.” it said
Tensions between the two Koreas have been building this year, with US military and intelligence agencies warning that North Korea appears to be preparing for a nuclear test — which would be its first in five years.