North Korea: Seoul’s economic offer ‘absurd,’ will never abandon nukes

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SEOUL, Aug. 19 (UPI) — Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, rejected Seoul’s proposal of economic assistance in exchange for denuclearization on Friday, calling it “the height of absurdity” and declaring President Yoon Suk-yeol “childish.”

“Bitter contempt is what we will only show those spinning a pipedream to succeed in making us abandon our nukes,” Kim said in a statement carried by the government-run Korean Central News Agency.

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It was the first time Pyongyang publicly responded to the “audacious” offer made by Yoon on Monday, in which he vowed to provide wide-ranging economic aid to North Korea if it agrees to abandon its nuclear arsenal.

“[Yoon’s] ‘bold plan’ is the height of absurdity,” Kim said, calling it as impractical as trying to “create mulberry fields in the dark blue ocean.”

“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,” she said.

Yoon expanded on his offer Wednesday, clarifying that he was not calling on Pyongyang to completely disarm before assistance would come.

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The United States has backed the proposal, with State Department spokesman Ned Price saying this week that Washington “strongly support[s] what we have heard from President Yoon.”

Seoul’s presidential office on Friday expressed regret over the “rude remarks” made by the North Korean leader’s sister.

“We consider it very regrettable that North Korea continues to use rude language while mentioning the president by name, and continued to express its nuclear development intentions while distorting our ‘audacious plan,'” the office said in a statement, according to news agency Yonhap.

Kim also confirmed that North Korea fired two cruise missiles on Wednesday and called Seoul’s reporting of the launch inaccurate.

South Korean defense officials released limited information about the test, saying only that the weapons had been fired from the coastal town of Onchon into the waters of the Yellow Sea.

However, Kim said in her KCNA statement that the missiles had been launched from a bridge in the city of Anju, north of the capital city of Pyongyang.

“I am curious to know why … [S]outh Korea and U.S. could not indicate the launching time and place properly and why they do not open to the public data on the weapon system,” she said.

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“If the data and flight trajectory are known, the [S]outh will be so bewildered and afraid,” Kim added.