A rare olive branch from the powerful sister of North Korea’s leader offering up the enticing possibility of repairing ties with Japan may be concealing what analysts say is a more likely motivation — to drive a wedge between Tokyo’s ever-closer trilateral and bilateral ties with Seoul and Washington.

In a statement carried by state-run media last week, Kim Yo Jong, a senior official in the regime of her brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, dangled the prospect of a visit to Pyongyang by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Though this included the caveat that Japan remove “stumbling blocks” in the relationship, including what she said was the “already-settled” issue of abductions of Japanese nationals by the North decades ago, the statement has raised eyebrows in Tokyo and elsewhere.

The Japanese government has acknowledged the remarks, saying Tokyo is “keeping in mind” what could represent a chance of a thaw between the East Asian neighbors as the Kishida administration continues a behind-the-scenes push for a possible summit that began last year.