NK leader warns of seeking 'new way' if U.S. pressure continues

NK leader warns of seeking 'new way' if U.S. pressure continues

NK leader warns of seeking 'new way' if U.S. pressure continues

Speaking during his televised New Year's speech today, Mr Kim said he is ready to meet USA president Donald Trump at any time to produce an outcome "welcomed by the global community".

"If the USA does not keep its promise made in front of the whole world... and insists on sanctions and pressures on our republic, we may be left with no choice but to consider a new way to safeguard our sovereignty and interests", Kim said, as translated by the BBC.

In his closely watched New Year's address, Kim said he was ready to pursue an outcome that would be "welcomed by the global community".

This year's speech drew intense attention, coming as U.S.

Kim emphasized that it is his firm intention to work on building "new relations" with the US, establishing lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and seeking "complete denuclearization", as agreed to in his June summit with Trump, if the USA takes trustworthy and corresponding measures.

Since the Trump-Kim summit though, less progress has been made than at least optimists had been hoping for.

The two leaders had traded personal insults - Trump mocked Kim as "Little Rocket Man", who in turn called him a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" - and threats of war as fears of conflict rose.

The line was not included in the first English-language summary of the speech by the North's official KCNA news agency.

Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists saw the Kim speech overall as a counter-offer in what the North Koreans see as ongoing negotiations over how much of their nuclear capability they will give up, and the rewards they will demand in exchange.

Kim said he was willing to resume without conditions joint projects with South Korea that were frozen due to political tensions and North Korea's weapon tests.

However, during the same address, Kim blasted the latest round of sanctions and intimated that they were a violation of promises the Untied States made during the last round of bilateral negotiations.

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But with Kim highlighting the need to turn further attention to economic prosperity in his speech, North Korea is also likely to continue to bring up such economic projects as a main agenda - even more than it did previous year.

Kim touted his meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and China's Xi Jinping in his speech, expressing a desire to expand ties in 2019. Pyongyang wants the U.S.to remove sanctions because of the steps it has already taken to dismantle its program.

Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its initial, unilateral steps toward denuclearization, including dismantling its only known nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.

Although the North did not conduct nuclear or missile tests a year ago, satellite images and leaked information from intelligence officials have pointed to ongoing activity at facilities in the secretive country.

United States officials say those steps can be easily reversed and have not been verified, and Washington has slapped additional economic sanctions on the impoverished country. US officials have repeatedly called for the stringent enforcement of sanctions on the country until its "final, fully verified denuclearization".

He also called for an end to joint military drills between the US and South Korea and said no strategic military assets should be brought onto the Korean peninsula.

Kim did not elaborate on what he meant by "new path".

Some observers said there was little news to emerge from the address.

At a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June the two signed a vaguely worded pledge on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

"Expanding what he says he's willing to do while insisting on unspecified reciprocal USA concessions to put those actions into effect puts greater pressure on Washington", Oba said.

"If the U.S. responds to our active and preemptive efforts with trustworthy steps and corresponding behaviour, [relations] will move forward at an excellent and fast pace", Mr Kim said in his speech.

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