Kim Jong Un Issues U.S

Saul Bowman
January 2, 2019

Regarding inter-Korean relations, Kim stressed that North Korea was strongly invested in bringing peace and stability to the Korean Peninsula.

Trump shakes hands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island, in Singapore. USA officials have repeatedly called for the stringent enforcement of sanctions on the country until its "final, fully verified denuclearization".

The North Korean leader's annual address is scrutinised for hints of the regime's key policy directions in the year ahead.

North Korea always interprets "denuclearization" to mean removing or limiting all nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, including those deployed to protect South Korea.

However, the United States intelligence community remains convinced that North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear weapons program in secret, in violation of numerous promises made to the United States and the global community.

Since the first-ever summit between the US and North Korea, little progress has been made as Pyongyang wants corresponding measures for the steps it has taken and Washington asks for more concrete steps before granting any quid pro quo.

Mr Kim also said the United States should continue to halt its joint military exercises with ally South Korea and not deploy strategic military assets to the South.

Wearing a black suit and a grey-blue tie, Mr Kim said: "Now that North and South Korea made a decision to take the path of peace and prosperity, we insist that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war equipment such as outside strategic assets should be completely stopped".

In what was the first time a North Korean leader met a sitting United States president, the two signed a vaguely phrased agreement to improve ties and work towards denuclearisation.


But he also offered to send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in the South in February, setting off a flurry of diplomacy that included three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and the meeting with Trump in June.

The offers could widen the gap between the United States and South Koreans on how strong sanctions should remain. He suggested the US consider taking the offer Kim appeared to put on the table Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, Trump used his New Year's message to brag about the "accomplishments" of his adminstatrion so far. "Discussions on reducing or eliminating that arsenal come later", said Mount.

Kim devoted a large chunk of his speech to reiterating this focus on rebuilding his country's tattered economy, calling for increasing electricity generation - including via the use of nuclear energy - and other development projects. North Korea spent 2018 trying versions of the stonewalling tactics and tricks it has used successfully against previous US administrations, including supposedly historic concessions that actually did little to reduce its research capabilities or could be easily reversed. The North Korean leader appeared to be gearing up to portray the U.S. as the obstacle to progress. The Trump administration fears that if sanctions are loosened now, the maximum pressure needed to compel denuclearization will never be restored. 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.

South Korea's presidential Blue House responded positively to Kim's address.

Kim also met with Moon three times last year - twice at the border truce village of Panmunjom and once in the North's capital - as Seoul and Pyongyang pursued several reconciliation initiatives, and at the weekend vowed to meet Moon "frequently" this year.

In his New Year's address, Kim said there would be faster progress on denuclearization if the United States takes corresponding action.

It came after a year of high tensions when the North made rapid progress with its weapons development, carrying out its sixth nuclear test - by far its most powerful to date - and launching rockets capable of reaching the entire U.S. mainland.

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