North Korean paper slams Japan over 'maximum pressure' campaign

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Japan has been plagued by exclusion anxiety amid the rapid developments on the Korean peninsula.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Japan has been plagued by exclusion anxiety amid the rapid developments on the Korean peninsula.PHOTOS: AFP

TOKYO • A North Korean state-run newspaper yesterday ruled out talks with Japan if it persists with "its inveterate repugnancy and bad habit" - exactly a week after Seoul announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was open to summit talks with Japan.

The Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary Japan was "not ready to join the trend of the times, finding fault with this or that", in assailing Tokyo's vocal international push to maintain maximum sanctions pressure on the North.

"What it has to remember is that it can never evade the fate of (being a) left-out person if it behaves (disgustingly) while repeating the old cliche of 'sanctions' and 'pressure' as (it is doing) now," it said.

Japan has been plagued by exclusion anxiety amid the rapid developments on the Korean peninsula, and was blindsided by US President Donald Trump's agreement to meet Mr Kim for an unprecedented bilateral summit. The Rodong Sinmun said Japan must change its tune if it wants to secure a seat at the diplomatic table. Seoul's announcement last Sunday had come two days after South Korean President Moon Jae In met Mr Kim in summit talks.

Japan sees itself as a major stakeholder in the region's denuclearisation, after a volley of ballistic missiles fell into waters uncomfortably close to its shores last year. Two had even flown over Hokkaido.

It also wants a resolution to the longstanding issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Rodong Sinmun said Tokyo "is resorting to a sleight of hand to cross the door sill to Pyongyang... but it will never step on the sacred land of the Republic unless it drops its inveterate repugnancy and bad habit".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2018, with the headline 'N. Korean paper slams Japan over 'maximum pressure' campaign'. Print Edition | Subscribe