Donald Trump’s pledge to engage with North Korea is not being met with open arms in Pyongyang.
So Se Pyong, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, told Reuters he believes Trump’s calls to speak with Kim Jong-un are a form of political posturing.
“It is up to the decision of my Supreme Leader whether he decides to meet or not, but I think his [Trump’s] idea or talk is nonsense,” So told the news agency.
“It’s for utilization of the presidential election, that’s all. A kind of a propaganda or advertisement,” he added. “This is useless, just a gesture for the presidential election.”
Trump drew attention last week when he told Reuters he would be open to dialogues with Kim Jong-un about the state’s nuclear ambitions. “I would speak to him, I would have no problem speaking to him,” Trump told Reuters.
His comments come as the international community wrestles with how to manage North Korea’s nuclear advances.
In January Kim’s regime launched a nuclear test about 100 kilometers from the China-North Korea border, which caused an earthquake in the nearby Chinese city of Yanji. In February it fired a long-range rocket, allegedly to put a satellite into space, but using technology that could potentially be used to deploy ballistic missiles.
In March the UN agreed to issue expanded sanctions on North Korea in response. But they have done little to deter Kim. Days later, North Korea launched a missile that traveled 800km (500 miles) east before landing in the Sea of Japan.
The US has not engaged in a dialogue with North Korea since 2012, when North Korea promised a moratorium on nuclear development in exchange for food aid from the US. Those talks fell apart, however, when Pyongyang announced an upcoming satellite launch. The Obama administration had reportedly been seeking to revive talks in private (paywall), but North Korea’s actions this year have put them on hold.