Kim Jong-un threatens return to nuclear stand-off

Kim Jong-un threatens return to nuclear stand-off

Kim Jong-un threatens return to nuclear stand-off

Kim Jong-un said he would be left with "no choice but to seek a new way" if President Trump did not make good on his promises towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Wearing a black suit and a grey-blue tie, Mr Kim said: "Now that North and South Korea chose to take the path of peace and prosperity, we insist that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war equipment such as outside strategic assets should be completely stopped".

Some analysts suggested his message was meant to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul, which has been pushing for faster diplomacy with Pyongyang.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned there will be consequences if the USA "continues to break its promises and misjudges the patience of our people".

The moves - an about-face from the weapons tests and threats in 2017 - were telegraphed in Kim's previous New Year's speech, in which he offered to discuss participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

"I'll endeavor towards a result that will be welcomed by the global community", Kim said of the potential second meeting between the two leaders.

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

Among the topics the leader is expected to address Tuesday are the state - and perhaps future - of denuclearization talks with the US, relations with South Korea and the Hermit Kingdom's economy, which has been tanked by sanctions from the USA and worldwide community after years of nuke tests.

The North Korean leader, who had been described by Trump as a "Little Rocket Man" with nuclear ambitions, humanized himself by taking a late night stroll on Singapore's modern streets the night before the summit that set off a social media firestorm. "Therefore, we have already declared domestically and internationally and took various actions showing our commitment that we will no further create or test nuclear weapons and will not use or spread them".

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Still, that summary did quote Kim as urging North Koreans to effect "a revolutionary surge on all fronts of the socialist construction by regarding self-reliance as a treasured sword for prosperity".

Kim's speech also points toward a hard year for the U.S.

The North has dismantled some testing facilities but there are allegations it is continuing its weapons programme.

Mr Kim congratulated himself on his diplomatic activities during 2018, including meetings with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and Chinese president Xi Jinping.

He was referring to his landmark summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, when he said he had "fruitful talks" and "exchanged constructive ideas".

There was no immediate reaction from the US State Department, but South Korea's presidential office welcomed Kim's speech, saying it carried his "firm will" to advance relations with Seoul and Washington.

Some experts say it's becoming clear the North intends to keep a nuclear arsenal and turn the talks with the United States into a bilateral arms reduction negotiation between two nuclear states, rather than a unilateral process of surrendering its arsenal.

Washington and Pyongyang have yet to reschedule a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean officials after the North cancelled it at the last minute in November.

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