The Korea Herald


Kim's sister says N. Korea open to better ties with Japan

By Yonhap

Published : Feb. 15, 2024 - 22:13

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Kim Yo-jong (Herald DB) Kim Yo-jong (Herald DB)

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Thursday said the regime is open to improving its relationship with Japan, including inviting the Japanese leader to Pyongyang.

Kim Yo-jong's remark came after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a speech last week that he feels a "strong need" to change the current relationship between Tokyo and Pyongyang, and that he is currently making related activities.

In a statement released through the Korean Central News Agency, the sister said there are no reasons for the two countries not to become closer, as long as Japan does not take issue with "obstacles," such as the abduction issue.

The abduction issue has been one of the key hurdles for diplomatic normalization between North Korea and Japan for decades. Japan claims it has confirmed the abductions of 17 Japanese citizens by North Korea in the 1970s and 1980s for language education for North Korean spies.

The sister noted there could come a day when Japan's leader visits Pyongyang.

Kim, however, noted that North Korea does not have any plans to improve its relationship with Japan for now, adding it will adopt a wait-and-see approach regarding Kishida's intentions.

Meanwhile, a Japanese media outlet reported earlier this week that Kishida is considering visiting South Korea in late March and holding a summit with President Yoon Suk Yeol, which would mark the second visit by the Japanese leader.