North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has said he is willing to restore severed inter-Korean hotlines next month.
He, however, accused the United States of proposing talks without changing its “hostile policy” towards the country.
According to the state media, KCNA, on Thursday, Kim made the remarks at the reclusive country’s rubber-stamp Parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, which gathered for a second day to discuss the government’s political, economic and social agenda.
North Korea this week test-fired a previously unseen hypersonic missile, joining a race for the advanced weapons system led by major military powers, and again demanded that Seoul and Washington scrap their “double standards” over weapons development.
Kim also criticised the South’s “delusion” over what it calls military provocations from the North.
North Korea severed the hotlines in early August in protest against joint South Korea-U.S. military drills, just days after reopening them for the first time in a year.
The decision to reactivate the lines is to help “realise the expectations and desire of the entire Korean nation” for recovery and durable peace in cross-border relations, Kim said.
“We have neither aim nor reason to provoke South Korea and no idea to harm it,” he said, according to the official KCNA news agency.
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South Korea’s Unification Ministry, responsible for inter-Korean affairs, welcomed Kim’s offer on the hotlines but did not comment on his other remarks.
Kim took a tougher tone toward Washington, accusing President Joe Biden’s new administration of “employing more cunning ways and methods” in pursuing military threats while still offering talks.
“The U.S. is touting ‘diplomatic engagement’ and ‘dialogue without preconditions’ but it is no more than a petty trick for deceiving the international community and hiding its hostile acts,” Kim said.
The Biden administration has said it reached out to Pyongyang to break an impasse over talks aimed at dismantling its nuclear and missile programmes in return for U.S. sanctions relief.
It has described North Korea’s recent missile launches as “destabilising” and “threats.”