SEOUL, May 6 (UPI) — North Korean media has directed criticism at the Japanese government, while toning down disparaging remarks on South Korea and the United States.
On Sunday, the North’s ruling Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun accused Tokyo of “trying to freeride on the wind of peace,” ahead of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s bilateral summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.
In a commentary regarding Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the paper criticized that Tokyo had “caused a ruckus abut the threat from North Korea as though a missile would fly over and explode any minute, stirring a wave of militarism,” but was now “changing its tune as though it is the ‘apostle of peace,’ given the change of situation.”
Japan has long advocated the U.S.-led campaign of applying maximum pressure and sanctions on the North Korea regime, over its nuclear and missile development programme.
Last July, North Korea fired two ballistic missiles that flew over Japan, alarming locals.
The Rodong Sinmun further criticized the Tokyo government, which is reportedly concerned that it has been excluded from regional talks on denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
“Japan has not been able to even cast its shadow during talks on the fate of the Korean Peninsula and the region,” the paper said. “In discussions regarding the Asia Pacific region, nobody has called for Japan and there is no longer a need to prepare a seat for Japan.”
It also noted Japan had been reaching out to the United States and South Korea, claiming it is “sponging off of them to gain access to Pyongyang.”
“However, if they don’t get rid of their foul communication and nasty manners, hundreds of thousands of years can pass but they will never step foot on our sacred land,” the commentary said.
The commentary appears to contradict a statement from Seoul’s presidential office, which said Kim Jong Un had expressed willingness to talk with Abe and normalize diplomatic ties with Tokyo.
On Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also said he would seek to normalize diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, and resolve the issue of Japanese nationals being detained in North Korea, the Japan Times reported.