North Korea to Trump: Don't test us

North Korea to Trump: Don't test us

North Korea to Trump: Don't test us

The North Korean leader did say he was willing to meet Mr Trump again - and said relations can "advance at a fast and excellent pace" if the United States eases sanctions and halts joint military exercises with South Korea. He also added he is willing to meet US President Donald Trump at any time to produce results the global community would welcome.

"If the United States does not keep its promise made in front of the whole world", Kim said, "we may be left with no choice but to consider a new way to safeguard our sovereignty and interests".

In the speech, which stood in stark contrast to last year's address - which saw him order the mass production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles - Kim said himself for the first time that the North had "declared that we would no longer produce, test, use or spread our nuclear arsenal" and urged "corresponding measures" from Washington.

"We are willing to resume the Kaesong industrial complex and tour program to Kumgangsan without any preconditions or price, in consideration of South Korean businessmen who once worked at the complex and their hard situation, along with the hopes of our South Korean comrades who seek to visit our people's famous mountain", Kim said in his speech.

Adam Mount, a senior analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, said Kim appears to be hinting at an agreement that falls short of a full disarmament, but could still represent a major limitation of the North Korean threat - a cap that essentially freezes the North's rudimentary nuclear capability from growing or advancing further.

Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-1953 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. Sanctions have also been strengthened since the meeting with Mr Trump.

In a 30-minute speech, Kim declared that Pyongyang will "move towards complete denuclearisation" but "may have to seek another way" if the U.S. maintains sanctions on the nuclear-armed country.

The North Korean leader, who had been described by Trump as a "Little Rocket Man" with nuclear ambitions, humanized himself by taking a late night stroll on Singapore's modern streets the night before the summit that set off a social media firestorm.

Donald Trump said in a Christmas statement that the progress has been made with regards to North Korea, and he is anticipating his next bilateral meeting with North Korean leader.

While Kim's address included conditions for further talks with the US, Seoul welcomed the speech as a sign of the North Korean leader's willingness to improve inter-Korean relations and achieve denuclearization.

Kim also wants the Trump administration to stop carrying out military exercises with South Korea.

The US has thousands of troops in the region and, while some larger military exercises have been stopped, smaller ones continue.

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" USA president.

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

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.

"My sense is that Kim wants to portray himself as a legitimate leader in the worldwide community both superior to Moon Jae-in and an equal to Donald Trump", Maxwell wrote.

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