North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has renewed his commitment to denuclearisation but warned that he may have no option but to seek an alternative course if the United States (US) does not take corresponding measures and maintains sanctions.
Kim made the comments during his annual New Year’s Day address laying out Pyongyang’s top priorities for the 12 months ahead.
In a 30-minute speech broadcast by the North’s state television, he said there would be faster progress on denuclearisation if Washington took corresponding action.
North Korea would have “no option but to explore a new path in order to protect our sovereignty” if the US “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.
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”.
At the time, the two leaders signed a vaguely-worded pledge on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but progress has since stalled with Pyongyang and Washington arguing over their agreement’s interpretation.
“I am ready to sit with the US president again at any time in the future and will make efforts by all means to produce a result that will be welcomed by the international community,” Kim said.
Kim’s address was markedly different compared to previous ones in both content and style.
Gone was the imposing podium of previous years; it was more like a fireside chat from a warm study overlooked by portraits of his father and grandfather.
Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its initial, unilateral steps towards denuclearisation, including dismantling its only known nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.
The North is also subject to multiple sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programmes.— Al Jazeera
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