Kim calls for corresponding USA measures, ready to meet Trump

02 January, 2019, 16:41 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • During his televised New Year's speech Kim Jong Un said he's ready to meet with Donald Trump again

He said he would work towards "a result that will be welcomed by the worldwide community" and said relations between the US and North Korea would move at a "fast speed" if America was willing to work with his own administration.

But the USA seemed to be careful on its evaluation of the speech.

The leader's New Year speech is a key moment in the North Korean political calendar, reviewing the past and setting out goals for the future.

The line was not included in the first English-language summary of the speech by the North's official KCNA news agency.

Mr Kim emphasised "self-reliance" in his speech as he outlined his efforts to develop his impoverished nation.

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 global sanctions that remain in place.

This year, Kim said inter-Korean relations have entered a "completely new phase", and offered to resume key inter-Korean economic projects banned under worldwide and South Korean sanctions, without conditions. Parts of the lengthy speech also broke from Chairman Kim speaking and switched to highlighting the country's economic and technological advances to come.

Our correspondent, Laura Bicker, is in the South Korean capital, Seoul and watched the speech.

Kim said he wanted to restart a joint economic zone in Kaesong and a joint tourism project at Mount Kumgang in the North "without preconditions".

Seoul and Washington are in a security alliance and the USA stations 28,500 troops in the South to protect it against its neighbor. While Pyongyang conducted no nuclear or missile tests past year, satellite images have pointed to continued activity at related facilities.

Observers say those steps have not been confirmed and can be easily reversed.

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.

At the time, Kim committed North Korea to "work toward complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.

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

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. "He's exuding confidence that his country isn't hung up over the USA, that they can still prosper without Washington".

But Kim called on Washington to take "corresponding" and "trustworthy" measures to reciprocate steps North Korea has already taken.

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.

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.

President Trump has said he expects a second summit to take place as early as February but there has been no confirmation yet.

"Japan, a political dwarf which has come under bitter denunciation and rejection by the global community for its bad habit of seeking benefits in the troubled waters, dares to challenge the strong trend of peace and stability in the region".

Interested in North Korea?

Trump wrote quoting PBS News Hour.

Joshua Pollack of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies tweeted that Kim was insisting "the onus is now on the U.S. to deliver".

"In sum he wants to portray himself as a real player on the worldwide scene", he added.


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