Kim Jong-un's new year message to the world

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un walk after lunch at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore

In his New Year's address on North Korean state television, Kim said that he was anxious to meet with President Trump at any time and that he desired to forge an agreement that would be "welcomed by the worldwide community", according to NPR. He added that he is willing to meet U.S. President Donald Trump at any time to produce results that the global community would welcome.

"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", Mr Kim said, "we may be left with no choice but to consider a new way to safeguard our sovereignty and interests".

According to Kim Dong-yub, this is not only a message to South Korea, asking it to determine its North Korea policy independently without the involvement of the USA, but also an indirect appeal to Washington for an alleviation of the sanctions.

The unification ministry also said that the North's leader renewed his commitment to working toward complete denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and expanding inter-Korean relations.

There was no immediate reaction from the US State Department, but South Korea's presidential office welcomed Kim's speech, saying it carried his "firm will" to advance relations with Seoul and Washington.

"Up until even last year, he stood and read the New Year's speech in a rather stiff and strong tone", Cheong said.

In the months since the historic summit, leaders from both countries, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have been trying to negotiate a second meeting between Trump and Kim.

He also called for an end to joint military drills between the USA and South Korea and said no strategic military assets should be brought onto the Korean peninsula.

Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said the feel was reminiscent of the image Kim showed the world in June in Singapore, when he held his first and only summit with President Donald Trump.

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Seoul and Washington are in a security alliance and the U.S. stations 28,500 troops in the South to protect it against its neighbor.

Kim's speech was closely watched as North Korean leaders traditionally use New Year's statements to reflect on the past year and issue major policy goals for the year ahead.

Seoul and Pyongyang have pursued several reconciliation initiatives in recent months, including projects to upgrade the North's outdated rail infrastructure and reconnect it with the South.

Mr Kim congratulated himself on his diplomatic activities during 2018, including meetings with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and Chinese president Xi Jinping.

"The government will continue to advance reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas to the point that it can not be dialed back, while at the same time working closely with the global community and doing the best to realize complete denuclearization and establish a solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula", the unification ministry said in a statement. North Korea has broken promises made to the United States to halt is nuclear weapons program on at least six prior occasions.

"North Korea seems determined in 2019 to receive some sort of sanctions relief". Washington and Pyongyang appear to have interpreted what exactly this means differently.

Some experts say it's becoming clear the North intends to keep a nuclear arsenal and turn the talks with the United States into a bilateral arms reduction negotiation between two nuclear states, rather than a unilateral process of surrendering its arsenal.

Although he said he wished to pursue economic development instead of nuclear missiles, Kim threatened to change course if the United States does not begin granting sanctions relief and making other reciprocal gestures in 2019. There are views that North Korea wants a quick second summit because it thinks it can win major concessions from Trump that they probably couldn't from lower level US officials, who are more adamant about the North committing to inspections and verification.

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