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Kim Jong Un's Fireside Chat Shows North Korea Bid for Acceptance

Kim Jong Un's Fireside Chat Shows North Korea Bid for Acceptance

North Korea, however, would have "no choice but to defend our country's sovereignty and supreme interest, and find a new way to settle peace on our peninsula", if the United States "misinterprets our people's patience, and makes one-sided demands and continues down the path of sanctions and pressure on our republic".

Kim Jong-un said that he would be left with "no choice but to seek a new way" if President Trump did not make good on his promises towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"I am ready to sit down again with the US President any time and make efforts towards producing an outcome that would be welcomed by the worldwide community", he said yesterday morning in a televised address.

However, he said the North will be forced to take a different path if the U.S. "continues to break its promises and misjudges the patience of our people by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure".

The unification ministry also said that the North's leader renewed his commitment to working toward complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and expanding inter-Korean relations.

North Korea also interprets the pathway to peaceful relations on the Korean Peninsula as requiring an end to military cooperation between South Korea and the United States and its allies.

After a flurry of diplomatic activity, in April Kim Jong-un met South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit at the inter-Korean border.

Over the past year, the North destroyed a nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri in the presence of global reporters, returned the remains of United States soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War and released detained United States citizens. "The challenge, however, is will Team Trump be willing to back away from its position of zero sanctions relief?" said Harry J. Kazianis at the Washington-based Centre for the National Interest.

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"He appeared more confident than ever, emboldened by some of the progress he made a year ago, which also implies he thinks he has the upper edge in the negotiations with the United States as a nuclear-armed state", said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

After racing toward the goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States in 2017, Kim used last year's speech to warn that "a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office" and order mass production of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles.

During his annual televised New Year's speech, the North Korean leader said he hopes a follow-up summit meeting will "produce an outcome welcomed by the global community".

The North has also bristled at US demands to provide a detailed account of nuclear and missile facilities that would be inspected and dismantled under a potential deal. Parts of the lengthy speech also broke from Chairman Kim speaking and switched to highlighting the country's economic and technological advances to come. He also suggested reviving the operation of the South Korean industrial park near the North Korean city of Kaesong and the Mount Kumgang tourist resort.

The North Korean leader is also indirectly demanding his neighbors to the South push the U.S. and U.N Security Council harder to lift sanctions in exchange for the two countries to resume inter-Korean cooperative projects, Cheong said. The North used a blunt statement last month to reiterate its traditional stance on denuclearization, saying it will never unilaterally give up its weapons unless Washington removes what Pyongyang describes as a nuclear threat.

The two sides have yet to reschedule a meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean officials after Pyongyang canceled it at the last minute in November. Kim also met three times with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which boosted his leverage by reintroducing Beijing - Pyongyang's main ally - as a major player in the diplomatic process to resolve the nuclear standoff.

It is thought the North Koreans will push for a quick second summit, as they like their chances of winning concessions from Mr Trump that they might not get from lower-level officials.


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