North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has renewed his commitment to denuclearization but warned that he may have no option but to seek an alternative course if the United States does not take corresponding measures and maintains sanctions.
Kim made the comments on Tuesday during his annual New Year’s Day address, laying out Pyongyang’s top priorities for the 12 months ahead. In a 30-minute speech broadcast by North Korea’s state television, he said there would be faster progress on denuclearization if Washington took the corresponding action.
Kim said North Korea would have “no option but to explore a new path in order to protect its sovereignty” if the US “miscalculates its people’s patience, forces something upon them and pursues sanctions and pressure without keeping a promise it made in front of the world.
He was referring to his landmark summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, when he said he had “fruitful talks” and “exchanged constructive ideas”. At the time, the two leaders signed a vaguely-worded pledge on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but progress has since stalled with Pyongyang and Washington arguing over their agreement’s interpretation.