NK leader talks of denuclearization, economic development in New Year address

01 January, 2019, 16:51 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a speech in North Korea

In his New Year address, Kim said he was willing to meet US President Donald Trump again at any time to achieve denuclearisation, and urged Washington to take unspecified corresponding action to speed up the stalled process. He also added he is willing to meet US President Donald Trump at any time to produce results the worldwide community would welcome.

North Korea 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.

This year, Kim said inter-Korean relations have entered a "completely new phase", and offered to resume key inter-Korean economic projects banned under worldwide and South Korean sanctions, without conditions.

But for most of his 30-minute speech, he focused on North Korea's economy and said he stands ready to resume projects with South Korea and restart operations at a jointly run factory park in the border town of Kaesong.

"Now that North and South Korea decided on the path of peace and prosperity, we insist that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war weapons such as outside strategic assets should be completely stopped", Kim said.

He was willing to meet Trump again at any time, he added, "to produce a result that will be welcomed by the worldwide community".

Since the Singapore summit where Kim committed to working toward denuclearization, talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled due to their differences over the sequencing of denuclearization.

Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Trump could meet for a second summit in 2019.

Talks between the US and North Korea have made little progress since Trump and Kim held an unprecedented summit in June and signed to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", without defining the term or setting a deadline.

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He also called for South Korea and the U.S. to end joint military exercises which Kim described as "a source of tension".

The two leaders 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.

His televised address came at the end of a year which saw a historic summit with Donald Trump in Singapore in June.

It was in last year's New Year's message that Mr Kim announced North Korea would take part in the Winter Olympics hosted by the South, which led to a thaw in relations.

According to Kim Dong-yub, this is not only a message to South Korea, asking it to determine its North Korea policy independently without the involvement of the United States, but also an indirect appeal to Washington for an alleviation of the sanctions.

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. Washington halted some large-scale military exercises with Seoul to aid nuclear negotiations, but smaller drills continued.

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

In a recent letter to Moon, Kim wrote that he wants to "meet often" to "resolve together the issue of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula".

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