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Kim Jong Un warns 'Washington not to test North Korean's patience'

Kim Jong Un warns 'Washington not to test North Korean's patience'

Yonhap News quoted South Korea's ruling Democratic Party saying Kim's speech "brightens the prospects" for North Korean negotiations with the United States and looked forward to "epoch-making" progress in the year ahead.

However, if the USA did not "keep its promise made in front of the whole world" and instead "insists on sanctions and pressures" on North Korea, "we may be left with no choice but to consider a new way to safeguard our sovereignty and interests".

"I am always ready to sit down again with the USA president at any time and will make efforts to produce an outcome that the global community would welcome", Kim said.

This year's speech drew intense attention, coming as U.S.

President Donald Trump met Kim in Singapore in June 2018.

Since the Trump-Kim summit though, less progress has been made than at least optimists had been hoping for. 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.

Harry Kazianis, director of Defense Studies at the Center for the National Interest, said Kim had clearly shown that North Korea is willing to continue talks on denuclearization, "but on its terms".

The hardening stalemate has fueled doubts on whether Kim ever will relinquish the nuclear weapons and missiles he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

A key theme in Kim's address was the economy - it made up the bulk of his speech - and the impact of sanctions.

Kim also emphasized the development of the North Korean economy and, without elaborating, mentioned nuclear power as part of the country's plans to boost electricity production. He said he was willing to resume joint projects with the South, including reopening the Kaesong industrial park and Mount Kumgang resort, without conditions.

Kim stated that he doesn't want the U.S.to test North Koreans' "patience" with sanctions.

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Those measures were in line with its resolve to "no longer make, use or spread" nuclear weapons, Kim said, indicating a possible moratorium on weapons production for the first time.

Observers say those steps have not been confirmed and can be easily reversed. "He's exuding confidence that his country isn't hung up over the USA, that they can still prosper without Washington".

In his speech, Mr Kim said the USA and South Korea should no longer carry out joint military exercises - which have been largely halted since the Singapore meeting - calling such drills "a source of tension". Washington halted some large-scale military exercises with Seoul, although smaller drills continued.

"Now that North and South Korea decided on the path of peace and prosperity, we insist that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war weapons such as outside strategic assets should be completely stopped", Kim said.

Some observers said there was little news to emerge from the address.

In the address, Kim Jong-un highlighted last year's developments in inter-Korean and US-North Korea relations, while calling on his country to seek economic development and modernize its defense industry.

"Expanding what he says he's willing to do while insisting on unspecified reciprocal US concessions to put those actions into effect puts greater pressure on Washington", Oba said. Sanctions have also been strengthened since the meeting with Mr Trump.

As for Japan, it remains unclear if Kim is truly open to a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, though he hinted previous year at the possibility "at an appropriate time", according to South Korea's Moon. "This is, indeed, ridiculous", the commentary said.

The speech concludes with Kim urging for peace with surrounding nations. Trump wrote quoting PBS News Hour.

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


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