This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned that his country could seek a “new path” in relations with the United States “if the U.S. does not keep its promise made in front of the whole world…and insists on sanctions and pressures on our republic.”
In a New Year’s statement broadcast on January 1, Kim praised his June 2018 summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore, where the leaders had “fruitful talks” and “exchanged constructive ideas.”
He also said he was ready to meet again with Trump “at any time in the future.” Kim also called on the United States to extend its halt on military exercises with South Korea.
He added that the United States “continues to break its promises and misjudges our patience by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushing ahead with sanctions and pressure.”
At the June summit, Kim and Trump agreed to a vague pledge to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, but little progress has been made on the issue in recent months.
A meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials was canceled in November and has yet to be rescheduled.
On December 31, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that Kim had sent Trump a “letter-like” message that was “conciliatory” in tone.
The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in also said Kim had sent a message to Seoul expressing a desire to hold additional Korean summits in 2019 with the goal of denuclearizing the peninsula.
Last year, Kim used his New Year’s address to open up a new diplomatic initiative with Washington and Seoul that led to three summits with Moon and the historic Singapore summit with Trump.
Kim also met three times in 2018 with Chinese President Xi Jinping.