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Kim says ready to meet Trump ‘anytime,’ warns of ‘new path’


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Seoul (Reuters): North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Tuesday he is ready to meet US President Donald Trump again anytime to achieve their common goal of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula, but warned he may have to take an alternative path if US sanctions and pressure against the country continued.

In a nationally televised New Year address, Kim said denuclearisation was 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.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

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 US president anytime in the future, and will work hard to produce results welcomed by the international community without fail,” Kim said.

However, he warned 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.”

It was not clear what Kim meant by “a new path,” but his comments are likely to further fuel skepticism over whether North Korea intends to give up a nuclear weapons program that it has long considered essential to its security.

In response to the news, Trump wrote on Twitter, “I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realises so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!”

There was no immediate comment from the White House. Asked for a reaction, a US State Department official said: “We decline the opportunity to comment.”

South Korea’s presidential office, however, welcomed Kim’s speech, saying it carried his “firm will” to advance relations with Seoul and Washington.

Kim and Trump vowed to work towards denuclearisation and build “lasting and stable” peace at their landmark summit in Singapore in June, but little progress has been made since.

Trump has said a second summit with Kim is likely in January or February, though he wrote on Twitter last month that he was “in no hurry.”

 


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