It appears the world will not witness any kind of breakthrough Trump-Kim meeting by the end of Trump's first term in office, given that on Friday Kim Jong Un's increasingly powerful sister, Kim Yo Jong, had some specific words on the matter.
She said a new Trump-Kim summit is “unlikely” to happen this year but left a remote door open, suggesting “a surprise thing may still happen.”
While this is hardly a surprise given stalled nuclear talks since the end of last year - hopes for any resumption which has since been completely dashed - what is new is her assertion that there will be peace as long as the US “don’t touch us and hurt us, everything will flow as is.”
The comments carried by KCNA news agency are a huge change in tune when compared to her coming close to threatening all-out war against the South a month ago.
Pyongyang had ordered a military build-up along the DMZ ostensibly in response to South Korean activists floating 'propaganda balloons' across the border, urging citizens in the North to defect.
Kim Yo Jong said Friday:
“We would like to make it clear that it does not necessarily mean the denuclearisation is not possible,” and added: “But what we mean is that it is not possible at this point of time.”
She emphasized that the US must change its stance and tone toward Pyongyang if Washington hopes for a future breakthrough.
“We do not have the slightest intention to pose a threat to the U.S.... Everything will go smoothly if they leave us alone and make no provocation on us,” she said.
Recent rising North-South tensions have been attributed by many analysts to Seoul's failed to materialize assurances that Washington would ease sanctions as part of denuclearization talks. This has further appeared an opportunity for Kim's increasingly visible and powerful sister to flex her authority over the military and next in line to rule.
In these newest comments she also interestingly mentioned watching footage of July 4th celebrations in America.
Bloomberg reports that she expressed curiosity over how the United States celebrates its Independence Day. Bloomberg describes that:
...she received permission from her brother to obtain the DVDs of what she called the “celebratory events” of last week. “I’m trying to personally obtain DVDs on U.S. Independence Day events from now on, and I’ve also gotten approval from the chairman for that,” she said, adding that she’s already watched news reports of the celebrations.
She also expressed good wishes to President Trump, but said the time isn’t right to meet.
Perhaps this somewhat odd aside regarding the DVDs is meant to spur another 'letter writing type opening' from Trump? Perhaps a "July 4th care package" might be in the works?