US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un after signing documents that acknowledge the progress of the talks and pledge to keep the momentum going, after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on Tuesday, June 12, 2018.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has renewed his commitment to denuclearisation 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.
In a speech broadcast by the North's state television, he said there would be faster progress on denuclearisation if Washington took corresponding action.
Speaking during his televised New Year's speech today, Mr Kim said he is ready to meet United States president Donald Trump at any time to produce an outcome "welcomed by the worldwide community". However, he said the North will be forced to take a different path if the United States "continues to break its promises and misjudges our patience by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure".
The leader's New Year speech is a key moment in the North Korean political calendar, reviewing the past and setting out goals for the future.
There was no immediate comment from the White House and asked for a reaction, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said: "We decline the opportunity to comment."
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The two leaders held their first summit in Singapore in June and agreed to "work toward" complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the US.
He delivered his latest missive in a much-anticipated live New Year's address, dressed in a dark Western suit and looking relaxed as he spoke from a plush leather chair in a stately office lined with books and family portraits.
"I think we both understood the situation..."
The North Koreans want a different relationship with the USA before denuclearizing - such as through a peace treaty, but the US wants North Korea to denuclearize before any such step.
As Al Jazeera reported, Kim made clear his willingness to participate in a second summit. While Pyongyang conducted no nuclear or missile tests previous year, satellite images have pointed to continued activity at related facilities.
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"North Korea has always been adept at putting the onus for action on the United States, taking the initiative in a way that forces Washington to either react on Pyongyang's terms or look like the obstacle to progress", said Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. diplomat specialising in the Koreas.
"It seems North Korea was once again trying to establish a new identity as a normal country on the global stage and distance itself from the image of the impoverished authoritarian state that the rest of the world associates it with". He expressed his desire to extend his high-stakes nuclear summit with President Trump in 2019 but also gave a forceful warning to those in Washington.
After racing towards the goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. in 2017, Kim used last year's New Year speech to warn that "a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office" and order mass production of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles.
In the speech, Kim hailed the results of the North's diplomatic activities in 2018, including his three meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Kim devoted a large chunk of his speech to reiterating this focus on rebuilding his country's tattered economy, calling for increasing electricity generation - including via the use of nuclear energy - and other development projects.
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