The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned the United States on Tuesday (local time) it would be disappointed were it to seek comfort in comments by her brother, while a US envoy met South Korea's president aiming to revive talks with North Korea.
Kim Yo-jong, who is also a senior official in North Korea's ruling party, released a statement to state media, saying the US appeared to be interpreting signals from North Korea in the "wrong way".
She was responding to US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who on Sunday said he saw as an "interesting signal" a recent speech by Kim Jong-un on preparing for both confrontation and diplomacy with the US.
"It seems that the US may interpret the situation in such a way as to seek a comfort for itself," she said in the statement, carried by the North's KCNA state news agency.
"The expectation, which they chose to harbour the wrong way, would plunge them into a greater disappointment."
In response, the US State Department said on Tuesday Ms Kim's comments had not changed its desire to explore diplomacy with North Korea.
North Korea's nuclear weapons programme has been an intractable problem for Washington for years and in trying to change that, President Joe Biden's administration conducted a review of policy and said it would seek "calibrated and practical" ways to persuade Pyongyang to denuclearise.
North Korea has rebuffed US entreaties for diplomacy since Mr Biden took over in January from former president Donald Trump, who had three summits with Mr Kim but failed to persuade him to give up his nuclear weapons.
US remains unchanged about diplomacy
In South Korea, President Moon Jae-in told the US special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, he would seek to get inter-Korean and US-North Korea relations back on track and expressed hopes for progress toward denuclearisation and peace on the Korean peninsula, spokeswoman Park Kyung-mee said.
On Monday, Mr Sung said he was willing to meet the North Koreans "anywhere, anytime without preconditions" and he looked forward to a "positive response soon".
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday the United States was aware of Ms Kim's comments and added: "They have not changed our view on diplomacy; we remain prepared to engage in principled negotiations with (North Korea) to deal with the challenge of its nuclear program.
"We continue to hope that (North Korea) will respond positively to our outreach and we'll have to wait and see if these comments are followed up with any more direct communication about potential paths forward."
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