North Korea warns of 'new path' if USA 'continues to break promises'

North Korea warns of 'new path' if USA 'continues to break promises'

"North Korea has always been adept at putting the onus for action on the United States, taking the initiative in a way that forces Washington to either react on Pyongyang's terms or look like the obstacle to progress", Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. diplomat specialising in the Koreas, told the Telegraph. He said he was willing to resume joint projects with the South, including reopening the Kaesong industrial park and Mount Kumgang resort, without conditions.

North Korea is subject to various sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions related to its banned nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programmes.

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

Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said the feel was reminiscent of the image Kim showed the world in June in Singapore, when he held his first and only summit with President Donald Trump.

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.

Kim's speech comes after year of unprecedented summitry, including the historic summit with Trump and three meetings with Moon and two with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and provided a rare glimpse into the general direction of the reclusive country's policy in the months to come.

On the front page of the ruling party's flagship newspaper was Kim touring monuments to capitalism, stepping out of a Chinese jet and smiling while shaking hands with the "imperialist" US president.

U.S. officials say those initial steps were not confirmed and can be easily reversed, and have called for strict sanctions enforcement on the impoverished country until full, verifiable disarmament.


In his speech, Mr Kim said the US and South Korea should no longer carry out joint military exercises - which have been largely halted since the Singapore meeting - calling such drills "a source of tension".

"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.

The annual New Year's address is a tradition Mr Kim picked up from his grandfather, founder of the communist country, Kim Il-sung.

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed his June 12 summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un as a breakthrough, and has expressed interest in a second meeting.

Last year's rapprochement came after a turbulent 2017 marked by North Korea testing missiles that could reach the USA mainland and an escalation in rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington with both sides trading insults and threats of nuclear destruction.

As a way to tackle chronic power shortages, he raised the need for atomic energy.

Kim used his New Year's speech a year ago to start a newfound diplomatic approach with Seoul and Washington, which led to his meetings with Moon and Trump. Private analysts have accused North Korea of continuing nuclear and missile development, citing details from commercial satellite imagery.

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