North Korea's Kim Wants to Restore Hotlines with South Korea Soon

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un celebrates the nation's 73rd anniversary.
In this photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walks with children during a celebration of the nation’s 73rd anniversary at Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea, early Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

SEOUL, South Korea  — North Korea said Thursday leader Kim Jong Un had ordered officials to restore stalled communication lines with South Korea to promote peace in early October, while he shrugged off recent U.S. offers for dialogue by calling them “more cunning ways" to conceal its hostility against the North.

Kim’s comments carried in a state media report came a day after North Korea claimed to have performed it first hypersonic missile test in the latest in a series of its weapons tests this month. In recent days, North Korea has sought conditional talks with South Korea, in an apparent return to its pattern of mixing weapons displays with peace overtures to wrest outside concessions.

During a speech at his country's rubberstamp parliament on Wednesday, Kim said the restoration of cross-border hotlines would realize the Korean people’s wishes for a peace between the two Koreas, according to the official Korean Central News Agency quoted.

He refers to a set of phone and fax communication channels between the rivals, which have been largely dormant for more than a year. The two Koreas briefly resumed communications over the channels for about two weeks this summer, but North Korea later refused to exchange messages again after Seoul staged annual military drills with Washington.

According to KCNA, Kim urged South Korea to abandon “unfair double-dealing standards” and “hostile policies,” saying the fate of inter-Korean relations is at a critical juncture on whether they would move toward cooperation and reconciliation or confrontation.

Kim also turned down repeated U.S. offers to resume talks without preconditions, calling it an attempt to hide America’s hostility. He said Washington’s “hostile policies” and “military threats” remain unchanged and an attempt to conceal them has been increasingly cunning.

Kim said that “the U.S. is touting ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘dialogue without preconditions’ but it is no more than a petty trick for deceiving the international community and hiding its hostile acts and an extension of the hostile policy pursued by the successive U.S. administrations,” KCNA said.

Kim was quoted as saying that “the U.S. remains utterly unchanged in posing military threats and pursuing hostile policy toward (North Korea) but employs more cunning ways and methods in doing so.”

North Korea has long called U.S.-led economic sanctions on it and regular military drills between Washington and Seoul as proof of U.S. “hostile policies” on them. The North has said it won’t resume nuclear diplomacy with the U.S. unless such U.S. hostility is withdrawn.

U.S. officials have repeatedly expressed hopes to sit down for talks with North Korea, but have also made it clear they will continue sanctions until the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

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