Seoul dismisses North Korea’s derision of South’s ‘foolish dreams’

Jan. 13 (UPI) — South Korea brushed aside North Korea‘s public snub of Seoul’s call for cooperation on Monday, as Pyongyang appeared to be wavering on negotiations.

Seoul said it would “make efforts” to abide by mutual respect for the sake of a “peace settlement” on the peninsula and for inter-Korea relations, Newsis reported.

The South’s response comes two days after Kim Kye Gwan, a North Korean foreign ministry adviser, said the South was “causing a commotion” and warned Seoul against “dreaming foolish dreams” following President Moon Jae-in’s New Year’s address.

In his speech last week, Moon proposed cooperation at the border and in sports, connecting abandoned inter-Korea railroads, resuming tourism to Mount Kumgang and holding a joint event for the 20th anniversary of the June 15 declaration, signed by former President Kim Dae-jung and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il.

“Be careful if you do not want to suffer the fate of a fool,” Kim Kye Gwan said Saturday.

Kim Kye Gwan, who formerly represented Pyongyang at the six-party talks in Beijing, has also dismissed U.S. President Donald Trump‘s affirmation of good personal relations with Kim Jong Un.

“It is a foolish notion to abide by the expectation [North Korea] will return to dialogue with the United States based on a friendship” between Trump and Kim Jong Un, Kim said.

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien has indicated the administration is leaning toward optimism in talks with Pyongyang, according to Axios on Sunday.

“The president suggested he send him a vase. We didn’t get a vase or any other sort of Christmas gift. That appears to be positive,” O’Brien said.

“We’ve reached out to the North Koreans and let them know that we would like to continue the negotiations in Stockholm that were last undertaken in early October…We’ve been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement Chairman Kim’s commitment.”

The two sides are in disagreement over denuclearization and sanctions.