Published: Thu, January 03, 2019
World News | By Sandy Lane

Trump says looks forward to 2nd meeting with NK leader

Trump says looks forward to 2nd meeting with NK leader

In his New Year speech Kim called for the sanctions to be eased, saying that the North had declared "we would neither make and test nuclear weapons any longer nor use and proliferate them", and urged the USA to take "corresponding practical actions". For either of these to happen, sanctions would have to be removed.

In a closely watched, nationally televised annual New Year's Day speech, Kim balanced a willingness to talk with a reminder that North Korea has its own demands if the denuclearization talks are to succeed. The North Korean leader appeared to be gearing up to portray the United States as the obstacle to progress.

"(But) we could be left with no choice but to seek a new way if the USA does not make good on its promises, misjudges our patience, while seeking to force things unilaterally and clinging to sanctions and pressure", he said.

Talks between the US and North Korea have made little progress since Trump and Kim held an unprecedented summit in June and signed to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", without defining the term or setting a deadline.

Culminating in late 2017, the North has carried out 6 atomic blasts and launched rockets capable of reaching the entire United States mainland, but has now carried out no such tests for more than a year.

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"U.S. negotiators should move decisively in the new year to find out how far Kim is willing to go toward a verified cap on his arsenal". Over the past year, the North destroyed a nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri in the presence of worldwide reporters, returned the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War and released detained United States citizens.

There was no immediate comment from the White House, Reuters reported.

Kim also reiterated his "strong will" and the North Korean government's "unchanged" position to pursue better relations with the USA and to seek complete denuclearization.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said Tuesday that he was ready to denuclearize the country and continue dialogue with Washington and Seoul to resolve the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Although the North did not conduct nuclear or missile tests previous year, satellite images and leaked information from intelligence officials have pointed to ongoing activity at facilities in the secretive country.

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

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

"His overarching message was confident, normal, sophisticated. reminiscent of the feel as the Singapore summit setting, wearing a suit and tie", said Duyeon Kim, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security. "This time, he made a very different pledge about nuclear weapons". 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. Still, there has been no indication that the United States can lift some of the sanctions it has imposed on North Korea, either unilaterally, or in concert with other countries.

North Korea is demanding sanctions relief - it is subject to multiple measures over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs - and has condemned USA insistence on its nuclear disarmament as "gangster-like".

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

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He spoke warmly of his three 2018 meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and of the rapprochement between the two nations, but he said that progress should be consolidated by ending joint military exercises with the United States. There are views that North Korea wants a quick second summit because it thinks it can win major concessions from Trump that they probably couldn't from lower level USA officials, who are more adamant about the North committing to inspections and verification.

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