North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Pyongyang last month that his country desperately wants to hold talks with the United States, sources familiar with the meeting said Saturday.
According to the sources, Kim told Koizumi that North Korea wants to talk to the United States to such an extent that his negotiator’s “voice will become hoarse.”
Kim reportedly made the remarks during his May 22 summit with Koizumi in reference to North Korea’s stance on the six-nation talks aimed at resolving Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.
Kim was also quoted as telling Koizumi that he wants other participants in the multilateral talks — China, Japan, South Korea and Russia — “to play music” for both North Korea and the United States so they can “dance well.”
In their meeting last Tuesday on the sidelines of the summit of the Group of Eight nations at Sea Island, Ga., Koizumi told President George W. Bush that Kim is eager to have talks with Washington.
Koizumi is believed to have briefed Bush on last month’s talks and directly forwarded Kim’s remarks. But Bush told Koizumi the United States plans to settle issues involving North Korea within the six-way framework.
During the summit with Kim in Pyongyang, Koizumi stressed the importance of resolving the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear programs through the six-nation talks.
However, Kim was more eager to have bilateral negotiations with the United States, the sources said.