Kim Jong Un, in a televised New Year’s Day speech to his people, clarified the North Korean position on denuclearization.
He reiterated his willingness to meet with the U.S. President at any time, but warned that he would “find a new path” if the United States continued to sanction the country or exert any “pressure”.
According to recent state media releases, that pressure includes any joint operations between South Korea and the U.S.. From Reuters, the resumption of small-scale drills in early November (following the capitulation of Donald Trump on the long-issued NK demand and the earlier cessation of all joint operations) resulted in a sharp rebuke and a demand for their immediate end.
In an unprecedented move, Kim delivered the address from a sofa inside the Workers Party building and sitting down rather than standing up. It was the first glimpse of his inner sanctum, which is a little reminiscent of Washington’s Oval Office.Chosun
North Korea remains one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian regimes, with a policy of imprisoning multiple generations of families if one member speaks against the leader, regularly torturing and slaughtering prisoners, using foreign visitors as hostages and immediately killing all children viewed as “defective”.
Kim stated for the first time that the North Koreans had “declared at home and abroad that we would neither make and test nuclear weapons any longer nor use and proliferate them” and urged “corresponding practical actions” from Washington, according to the Japan Times.
The words are promising, but are contradicted by recent revelations about North Korean secret bases.
President Trump appeared to take that statement at face value, and did not publicly acknowledge the demands and threats in the speech.