North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un said that he is set to meet with US President Donald Trump anytime to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. However, if U.S. sanctions continue he will resort to taking an alternative route.
In his New Year televised speech, Kim affirmed that denuclearization is his “firm will” and North Korea had “declared at home and abroad that we would neither make and test nuclear weapons any longer nor use and proliferate them.”
Kim added that Pyongyang had “taken various practical measures” and if Washington responded “with trustworthy measures and corresponding practical actions … bilateral relations will develop wonderfully at a fast pace.”
“I am always ready to sit together with the U.S. President anytime in the future, and will work hard to produce results welcomed by the international community without fail,” Kim said.
He cautioned that North Korea might be “compelled to explore a new path” to defend its sovereignty if the United States “seeks to force something upon us unilaterally … and remains unchanged in its sanctions and pressure.”
In response, Trump tweeted “I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realizes so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!”
Analysts believe that Kim is willing to push through with denuclearization talks but on his own terms.
Harry Kazianis of the Washington-based Centre for the National Interest, said “North Korea seems determined in 2019 to receive some sort of sanctions relief … The challenge, however, is will Team Trump be willing to back away from its position of zero sanctions relief?” said.
“Kim’s remarks seem to suggest his patience with America is wearing thin.”
The U.S. special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, reiterated last month that the U.S. government does not intend to ease sanctions imposed on North Korea but had agreed to provide support to South Korea in sending flu medications to North Korea, saying such cooperation could help advance nuclear diplomacy.