News World N.Korea's Kim says ready to meet Trump but warns of 'new path'

N.Korea’s Kim says ready to meet Trump but warns of ‘new path’

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reaffirmed on Tuesday his resolve to completely denuclearise the Korean Peninsula, but warned he may have to take an alternative path if the United States continued to force Pyongyang into unilateral action.

In his New Year address, Kim said he was willing to meet U.S. President Donald Trump again at any time to achieve denuclearisation, and urged Washington to take unspecified corresponding action to speed up the stalled process.

North Korea, however, would have “no option but to explore a new path in order to protect our sovereignty” if the United States “miscalculates our people’s patience, forces something upon us and pursues sanctions and pressure without keeping a promise it made in front of the world,” Kim said in his nationally televised address.

The comments are likely to fuel growing scepticism over whether Pyongyang intends to give up the nuclear weapons programme that it has long considered essential to its security.

Kim and Trump vowed to work towards denuclearisation and build a “lasting and stable” peace regime at their landmark summit in Singapore in June, but little progress has been made since and satellite images have indicated continued activity at North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities.

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 denuclearisation, including dismantling its only known nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.

U.S. officials say those steps can be easily reversed and have not been verified, and Washington has slapped additional economic sanctions on the impoverished country. Washington halted some large-scale military exercises with Seoul, although smaller drills continued.

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.

“Now that North and South Korea decided 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,” Kim said.

Analysts said Kim’s message sent clear signals that North Korea is willing to stay in talks with Washington and Seoul this year – but on its own terms.

“North Korea seems determined in 2019 to receive some sort of sanctions relief … The challenge, however, is will Team Trump be willing to back away from its position of zero sanctions relief?” said Harry J. Kazianis at the Washington-based Centre for the National Interest.

“Kim’s remarks seem to suggest his patience with America is wearing thin.”

The televised speech is closely watched as a rare public appearance for the young leader, setting the tone for his domestic and foreign policies for the year ahead.

After racing toward the goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States in 2017, Kim used last year’s speech to call for defusing tensions and improving ties with the South, and a shift in focus toward economic development.

That resulted in a dramatic detente last year, including three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and the historic meeting with Trump in June.

In this year’s 30-minute speech, Kim spent more than 20 minutes highlighting his new focus on the economy.

Kim said inter-Korean relations have now entered a “completely new phase”, and he is willing to resume key joint economic projects with the South – the factory park in Kaesong and tours to Mt. Kumgang – without conditions.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

122 new cases, one death announced on Friday

The Health Ministry announced the death of one person due to COVID-19. This raises the death toll from the virus in Cyprus to 179,...

Where to get antigen rapid tests on Saturday

The Health Ministry announced the following antigen rapid test sites for Saturday, 23 January 2021: LIMASSOL Grigoris Afxentiou Square 08:30-16:30 Gafkos Clerides Park, Germasoyia 08:30-16:30 Municipal Hall Ypsonas...

Civil servants’ trade union requests psychological support for health professionals

PASYDY, the civil servants’ trade union requested psychological support for health professionals due to the consequences of COVID-19 on their health. The trade union noted...

Scientific advisory committee to convene on Monday under President Anastasiades

Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, will preside on Monday morning over a meeting of the scientific advisory committee on COVID-19. According to CNA information, during the...

Polish medics depart for Slovakia to help mass testing

A group of 200 Polish medics departed for neighbouring Slovakia on Friday (January 22) to help in a week-long testing campaign in the central...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...