Kim pledges denuclearization, but warns N. Korea will seek ‘a new way’ if US flouts promises

Tuesday, January 1, 2019
By Paul Martin
1 Jan, 2019

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has said that, while he wants a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and is open to a new meet-up with his US counterpart, Pyongyang could reverse course if the US “clings to sanctions and pressure.”

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 always ready to sit down again with the US president at any time and will make efforts to produce an outcome that the international community would welcome,” Kim said.

Noting that the denuclearization process is a two-way street, Kim warned that if Washington sticks to its policy of maximum pressure and sanctions, Pyongyang’s patience will inevitably run out.

“[But] we could be left with no choice but to seek a new way if the US does not make good on its promises, misjudges our patience, while seeking to force things unilaterally and clinging to sanctions and pressure,” Kim noted.

The North Korean leader made it clear that going back to saber-rattling is not what he wants: “If the US responds to our active and preemptive efforts with trustworthy steps and corresponding behavior, [North Korea-US relations] will move forward at an excellent and fast pace,” he stated, as cited by Yonhap.

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