Kim calls for corresponding USA measures, ready to meet Trump

Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Trump could meet for a second summit in 2019

North Korea's willingness to de-nuclearize and ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula is not unconditional and depends on whether Washington is ready to reciprocate Pyongyang's goodwill, Kim said in his New Year address.

"I am ready to sit face to face with the USA president again at any time going forward, and will make efforts to produce an outcome the worldwide community would welcome", he said in an apparent response to a series of conciliatory gestures from the US.

North Korea however would have "no option but to explore a new path in order to protect our sovereignty" if the United States "miscalculates our people's patience, forces something upon us and pursues sanctions and pressure without keeping a promise it made in front of the world", Kim said.

"We are willing to resume the Kaesong industrial complex and tour program to Kumgangsan without any preconditions or price, in consideration of South Korean businessmen who once worked at the complex and their hard situation, along with the hopes of our South Korean comrades who seek to visit our people's famous mountain", Kim said in his speech.

Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its unilateral steps toward denuclearization - including a moratorium on atomic tests, longer-range missile launches and closure of key sites.

The North Korean dictator said: "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".

In December, Trump said that he hopes to meet Kim as soon as even this month or February, describing their relationship as "good" and even suggesting he might invite Kim to the White House.

Since the Singapore summit where Kim committed to working toward denuclearization, talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled due to their differences over the sequencing of denuclearization.

U.S. President Donald Trump hailed his June 12 summit in Singapore with Kim Jong-un as a breakthrough, and has expressed interest in a second meeting.

It was not clear what "new path" the North Korean leader was referring to.

Dressed in a Western style suit, Kim spoke from a dark leather armchair in an office lined with packed bookshelves and paintings of his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather Kim Il Sung - a setting that resembled more intimate addresses from the White House by the USA president.

Kim's speech comes after year of diplomatic surprises by the reclusive leader, including an unprecedented summit with Trump and three meetings with Moon.

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".

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

Mr Kim and Mr Trump met for the first time in Singapore in June but, despite a great deal of hype, the resulting agreements were vague on how denuclearisation would be achieved. "Therefore, we have already declared domestically and internationally and took various actions showing our commitment that we will no further create or test nuclear weapons and will not use or spread them".

There was no immediate reaction from the US State Department, but South Korea's presidential office welcomed Kim's speech, saying it carried his "firm will" to advance relations with Seoul and Washington.

Pyongyang conducted its latest missile launch in November previous year.

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