Kim says North Korea could take 'new path' if USA maintains sanctions

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Kim said he was willing to meet Trump at any time and urged corresponding measures from the U.S. The North Korean leader called on South Korea to halt joint military exercises with the U.S., placing new pressure on the alliance.Kim called for a "complete" halt of the deployment of strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula, a reference to nuclear-capable American bombers and submarines.

On June 12, Trump and Kim met in Singapore, where they committed to establish new US-North Korea relations.

Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since then, and Mr Kim's New Year address has cast further doubt on whether he is willing to give up the weapons after all.

Kim said that North Korea had already pledged not to make, use or spread nuclear weapons and had taken concrete steps to implement this.

But while Kim Jong Un says he wants to continue along the diplomatic path, the clear hint is that without some response from the United States, the rapprochement witnessed past year may go into reverse.

As for Japan, it remains unclear if Kim is truly open to a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, though he hinted a year ago at the possibility "at an appropriate time", according to South Korea's Moon. In late April, Kim Jong-гn announced that the country would suspend its ICBM launches and missile tests ahead of the summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump.

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 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.

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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. North Korea seemingly seeks to include China, one of its closest allies, in the talks for more leverage, experts have noted.

On the matter of inter-Korean economic cooperation, Kim mentioned two sensitive projects, both of which are now suspended and whose resumption would most likely violate the worldwide sanctions that remain in place.

But for most of his 30-minute speech, he focused on North Korea's economy and said he stands ready to resume projects with South Korea and restart operations at a jointly run factory park in the border town of Kaesong.

He added that if the two Koreas join forces, no sanctions or pressure from external forces would be able to stop their efforts to "open a new road of prosperity for the people".

Seoul and Washington are in a security alliance and the USA stations 28,500 troops in the South to protect it against its neighbour, which invaded in 1950.

But with Kim highlighting the need to turn further attention to economic prosperity in his speech, North Korea is also likely to continue to bring up such economic projects as a main agenda - even more than it did previous year.

"North Korea is prepared to strike a move, so it is requesting South Korea to actively convince the United Nations and the USA to alleviate or lift sanctions layered upon the state". The program was considered an important source of foreign currency for the North.

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