North Korea rejects aid-for-denuclearisation offer from Seoul

Pyongyang dismisses South Korean proposal, describing it as ‘pipedream-like’

Kim Yo Jong
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, called Yoon Suk-yeol ‘simple’
(Image credit: Jorge Silva/AFP via Getty Images)

North Korea has dismissed Seoul’s proposal of financial support in exchange for denuclearisation, instead declaring that the offer showed South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol was “really simple”, according to state media.

In a speech on Monday, Yoon had said his government would implement a major food programme, offer help for power generation and boost farming in North Korea, in exchange for nuclear disarmament.

But the offer was rejected by Kim Yo Jong, a member of the politburo and sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who said it was “pipedream-like”. She described the South Korean president as a “shameless person who talks about ‘audacious initiative’ today and forces invasion war practice tomorrow,” reported The Korea Herald.

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Kim’s sister also stated her dislike of Yoon “as a human being”. Sky News reported Kim Yo Jong as saying: “It would have been more favourable for his image to shut his mouth, rather than talking nonsense as he had nothing better say”.

Unsurprising response

Although the “democratic South Korea’s economy has flourished over the past few decades”, said the BBC, “the communist-ruled North has always struggled with food shortages” and “consistently faced international sanctions over its nuclear programme”.

However, the North’s response has surprised few. Analysts said the chances of Pyongyang accepting Yoon’s offer were “vanishingly slim”, reported The Guardian, because North Korea invests a “vast chunk of its GDP into developing its nuclear arsenal” and has “long made it clear it will not make that trade”.

As recently as last week, added France24, Pyongyang warned it would “wipe out” Seoul authorities over a recent outbreak of Covid-19. The latest threat came just weeks after Kim Jong Un said his country was “ready to mobilise” its nuclear capability in any war with the US and South Korea.

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Chas Newkey-Burden has been part of The Week Digital team for more than a decade and a journalist for 25 years, starting out on the irreverent football weekly 90 Minutes, before moving to lifestyle magazines Loaded and Attitude. He was a columnist for The Big Issue and landed a world exclusive with David Beckham that became the weekly magazine’s bestselling issue. He now writes regularly for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, FourFourTwo and the i new site. He is also the author of a number of non-fiction books.