Friday, 18 January, 2019

Kim Jong Un warns of 'new path' if stalemate with U.S. persists

People watch a TV news on a screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivering a New Year's speech at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul South Korea Tuesday Jan. 1 2019. The letters on the screen read Kim calls for corresponding US measures, ready to meet Trump
Andrew Cummings | 02 January, 2019, 16:43

However, there was a clear warning that the country is not ready to disarm unilaterally.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump met for their first historic summit in Singapore in June, agreeing to work together towards the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but without clearly defining what that statement meant.

"I am always ready to sit down again with the US president at any time and will make efforts to produce an outcome that the global community would welcome", Kim said.

"[But] we could be left with no choice but to seek a new way if the U.S. does not make good on its promises, misjudges our patience, while seeking to force things unilaterally and clinging to sanctions and pressure", he said. "Therefore, we have declared domestically and internationally and took various actions showing our commitment that we will no longer create and test nuclear weapons and will not use or spread them".

"Kim's New Year's speech was long awaited by many around the world as it was hoped to provide a breakthrough in the current months-long deadlock in the denuclearization talks".

The rest of Mr Kim's speech, primarily tailored for a domestic audience, focused on economic and technological progress and the need to develop electricity production. Though the economy has liberalized in recent years, there was no hint of that in Tuesday's address.

The only way to resolve the long-running nuclear conundrum is for the USA and North Korea to agree on "stage-by-stage arrangements so there will be reciprocity in mutual concessions", Cheng believes. He also urged development in the munitions industry, to bring the country's defense capabilities "up to the level of developed countries".

He also emphasized a strong willingness to meet Moon frequently in 2019 as well to move forward discussion on peace and prosperity.

The U.S. has suspended large-scale military exercises with South Korea.

Kim also wants the Trump administration to stop carrying out military exercises with South Korea. However, neither step will be possible unless sanctions are lifted.

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Putin also sent messages to other heads of state including Britain's Theresa May and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Also on Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev exchanged New Year greetings.

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Seoul and Washington have at times pursued divergent approaches to the Pyongyang, with the South pushing cross-border co-operation projects, including connecting railways and roads across the heavily-fortified border and upgrading the North's tattered infrastructure.

South Korea - a key United States ally in Asia and the North's capitalist neighbor - praised Kim's speech, calling it a reaffirmation of Pyongyang's commitment to denuclearization.

Trump's tweet also included the part of the report where it said the regime will not make or test nuclear weapons or give them to others.

"I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!"

North Korea has not responded to Washington's calls for senior working-level talks to follow up on the June 12 summit, apparently preferring to engage Trump rather than other USA officials in its negotiations.

The annual New Year's address is a tradition Mr Kim picked up from his grandfather, founder of the communist country, Kim Il-sung. But Kazianis said it was time for the United States to truly test Kim's intentions through "a grand bargain on denuclearization that matches action for action".

"On part of the North Koreans, they see that they have improved the relationship, they have improved the atmosphere over the Korean peninsula, and they expect to see, at least, some easing of the sanctions and they are not seeing that", Andrew Leung, an global and independent China specialist, told RT, speaking about Kim's warning he would seek a "new way" if the U.S. does not reciprocate.

In his speech, broadcast early Tuesday on state-run television, Kim urged the United States to take "corresponding measures" in exchange for denuclearization steps the North Korean dictator has claimed his country has taken since past year.

This article was written by Simon Denyer and Min Joo Kim, reporters for The Washington Post.

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