Published: Tue, January 01, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Kim Jong-un's new year message to the world

Kim Jong-un's new year message to the world

During his televised New Year's speech, Kim said he's ready to meet with Trump at any time to produce an outcome "welcomed by the global community".

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.

The North is subject to multiple sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions over banned nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programmes, which have seen it carry out six atomic tests and launch rockets capable of reaching the entire USA mainland.

Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its unilateral steps toward denuclearization - including a moratorium on atomic tests, longer-range missile launches and closure of key sites.

At a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, the two signed a vaguely worded pledge on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

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

Trump has said he would like to hold a summit with Kim in January or February.

TV screens show US President Donald Trump, right, meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

The hermit-kingdom despot used his New Year address to stage the intervention.

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Washington and Pyongyang have yet to reschedule a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean officials after the North canceled it at the last minute in November.

U.S. officials say those initial steps were not confirmed and can be easily reversed, and have called for strict sanctions enforcement on the impoverished country until full, verifiable disarmament.

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.

Kim called for South Korea to "completely stop" joint military drills with the United States involving strategic assets, while multilateral negotiations among countries involved in the armistice agreement should be pursued to build a permanent peace regime.

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

He was willing to meet Trump again at any time, he added, "to produce a result that will be welcomed by the global community".

"We will never tolerate outside interferences and interventions meant to block our way toward reconciliation, unity and the unification of our people, while trying to make our relations scummy to their states and interests", the North Korean leader said, adding that "significant" agreements achieved during 2018's three inter-Korean summits could be "regarded as non-aggression treaty".

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

In a 30-minute speech, Kim declared that Pyongyang will "move towards complete denuclearisation" but "may have to seek another way" if the USA maintains sanctions on the nuclear-armed country. North Korea is known to have developed at least three nuclear plants, including a five-megawatt reactor at its main Yongbyon complex producing weapons-grade plutonium, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.

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