Kim Jong Un warns North Korea could consider change of tack

Kim Jong Un warns North Korea could consider change of tack

Kim stressed that there would be significant progress on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula if the United States takes corresponding action.

But he said 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".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned there will be consequences if the U.S. "continues to break its promises and misjudges the patience of our people".

Among the topics the leader is expected to address Tuesday are the state - and perhaps future - of denuclearization talks with the USA, relations with South Korea and the Hermit Kingdom's economy, which has been tanked by sanctions from the US and worldwide community after years of nuke tests.

While the North has stopped missile and nuclear testing, there's been little indication that Pyongyang is working towards complete and verifiable denuclearisation as the United States has called upon it to do.

Since the Trump-Kim summit though, less progress has been made than at least optimists had been hoping for. For either of these to happen, sanctions would have to be removed.

Kim's speech also points toward a hard year for the U.S.

Mr Kim also met with President Moon three times last year - twice at the border truce village of Panmunjom and once in the North's capital Pyongyang - and at the weekend vowed to meet Moon "frequently" this year. -South Korean alliance with their military co-operation coming under pressure from Pyongyang, Seoul's process for inter-Korean engagement, and Washington's current inability to reach an agreement on cost-sharing for the US military presence in South Korea.

The North has dismantled some testing facilities but there are allegations it is continuing its weapons programme.

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

While North Korea's denuclearization has stalled since Kim's summit with US President Donald Trump in June, partially due to the US's reluctance to provide sanctions relief to the North, inter-Korean reconciliation is proceeding at a steady pace. North Korea's economy shrank by 3.5 percent in 2017, according to the South's Bank of Korea.

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. The North used a blunt statement last month to reiterate its traditional stance on denuclearization, saying it will never unilaterally give up its weapons unless Washington removes what Pyongyang describes as a nuclear threat.

A meeting between North Korean officials and USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo was cancelled by the North at the last minute in November and has yet to be rescheduled.



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