U.S. restates importance of N.K. dialogue after N. Korea notes possibility of Kishida’s visit

The U.S. State Department reiterated the importance of dialogue with North Korea on Thursday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister signaled openness to high-level engagement with Japan. On Thursday (Korea time), Kim Yo-jong, the leader's sister, said that Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida might be able to visit Pyongyang if Tokyo stops taking issue with the North's "legitimate right to self-defense" and the issue of Japanese nationals abducted decades ago. "We have been very clear about the importance of dialogue and diplomacy with the DPRK," a State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency via email, referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "We would refer you to the Japanese government regarding reports of diplomatic engagement between Japan and the DPRK," the official added. In Thursday's statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency, Kim said that Tokyo and Pyongyang can open up a "new future" together if Japan makes a politica l decision to open up a "new way of mending the relations through its courteous behavior and trustworthy action." She made the remarks, referring to Kishida's comments at a recent parliamentary budget committee session. There, the Japanese premier noted that various activities are under way, as he responded to a question about Tokyo's push for a potential summit with the North. Source: Yonhap News Agency