North Korea rebuffs US ambassador’s offer to negotiate ‘on any topic’
(Office of the President of South Korea)

North Korea rebuffs US ambassador’s offer to negotiate ‘on any topic’

The sister of North Korea’s leader has rejected a United States request for negotiations and likened the idea to a ploy by Washington to infringe on her country’s power to govern itself.

Kim Yo Jong, a senior official for the Workers’ Party of Korea, said the North’s sovereignty “can never be an agenda item for negotiations, and therefore, [Pyongyang] will never sit face to face with the U.S. for that purpose.”

Her statement came three days after the U.N. Security Council met Monday to discuss North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its repeated violations of the council’s resolutions.

A rocket fired Nov. 21 to place a spy satellite in orbit violated resolutions prohibiting Pyongyang from using ballistic-missile technology, deputy spokesman for the secretary-general Farhan Haq said in a news release after the launch.

Monday’s meeting included U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who reiterated Washington’s offer to North Korea to negotiate “on any topic” without any preconditions.

“[North Korea] can choose the time and the topic, but [it] needs to make that choice,” she said.

North Korean Ambassador Kim Song defended the launch, calling it his nation’s sovereign right. He said the satellite aims to provide a “clear picture of the dire military moves of the United States.”

The ambassador said the North is exercising its right to (to/of?) self-defense and mentioned how the U.S. military has sent strategic assets, including aircraft carriers and B-52 bombers, to the peninsula several times this year. On Sunday, South Korean and Japanese warships trained with the Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group south of Jeju Island.

Those U.S. “strategic assets are not for defense,” Kim Song said.

Thomas-Greenfield replied that such military exercises “are routine and are defensive in nature; and we intentionally reduce risks and pursue transparency by announcing the exercises in advance, including the dates and the activities.

“Unlike [North Korea’s] launches using ballistic missile technology, these actions are not prohibited by U.N. Security Council resolutions,” she said. “So, we reject strongly the disingenuous [North Korean] claim that its missile launches are merely defensive in nature, in response to our bilateral and trilateral military exercises.

North Korea has fired 22 ballistic missiles in 15 days of testing so far this year. The communist regime has also launched three rockets carrying satellites this year; the first two were unsuccessful.