Kim Jong-un threatens return to nuclear standoff with US

Although Kim's address - which is an annual tradition in North Korea - is aimed mainly at a domestic audience, worldwide observers parse his words to get a sense of the secretive Pyongyang regime's intentions.

In the joint declaration, Kim pledged to work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while in return, Trump promised to provide certain security guarantees to North Korea.

He spoke sitting in a dark leather armchair, in a large office flanked with packed bookshelves along one side and paintings of his predecessors, his father Kim Jong Il and grandfather Kim Il Sung behind him.

The hermit-kingdom despot used his New Year address to stage the intervention.

However Kim said on Tuesday while his resolve for complete denuclearisation remains unchanged, he may have to seek a "new path" if the United States continues to demand unilateral action from North Korea.

He was willing to meet Trump again at any time, he added, "to produce results welcomed by the global community".

President Trump has said he expects a second summit to take place as early as February but there has been no confirmation yet.

Kim also signaled a willingness to continue improving relations with South Korea.

Washington is pushing to maintain the measures against the North until its "final, fully verified denuclearisation". Over the past year, the North destroyed a nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri in the presence of global reporters, returned the remains of United States soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War and released detained U.S. citizens.

Although he warned he could explore a "new path", Kim's restrained tone indicates his willingness to maintain the momentum for dialogue with the U.S., experts say. Kim also urged the North Korean people to strengthen their "self-reliance", a message that echoed Chinese President Xi Jinping's similar address Monday night.Kim repeated the importance of being "frugal" multiple times when speaking about economic plans.


After months of bitter acrimony and public name-calling between the two leaders, Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June.

North Korea has not responded to Washington's calls for senior working-level talks to follow up on the June 12 summit, apparently preferring to engage Trump rather than other U.S. officials in its negotiations.

Sanctions on Pyongyang have been regarded as a major stumbling block to active cross-border cooperation with South Korea, which has been pursued under the agreements reached between their leaders in three summits this year. "A deadlock in US-North Korea talks is likely to continue for now".

Kim called for South Korea to "completely stop" joint military drills with the United States involving strategic assets, while multilateral negotiations should be pursued to build a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.

He called last year "a year of stirring events that witnessed a dramatic change unprecedented in the history of national division spanning more than seven decades". These are the Gaeseong industrial park in North Korea, where South Korean factories use North Korean labor, and the Mount Geumgang resort in North Korea.

In his speech, Mr Kim said the US and South Korea should no longer carry out joint military exercises - which have been largely halted since the Singapore meeting - calling such drills "a source of tension".

A meeting between North Korean officials and USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo was cancelled by the North at the last minute in November and has yet to be rescheduled.

"It means the two projects will be key agenda items concerning inter-Korean relations this year", the INSS report said.

North Korea is subject to various sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions related to its banned nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programmes. Private analysts have accused North Korea of continuing nuclear and missile development, citing details from commercial satellite imagery. The program was considered an important source of foreign currency for the North.


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