Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, has warned United States President, Donald Trump, that he will continue to stockpile nuclear weapons if he continues with sanctions.
Kim made the remarks during his annual New Year’s address. But the speech set the country on unprecedented international diplomacy with South Korea and the US.
The annual New Year’s address is a tradition Kim picked up from his grandfather, founder of the communist country, Kim Il-sung.
He met Trump to discuss denuclearisation in June 2018, but with few results so far.
The meeting between the two leaders came after a turbulent 2017, marked by North Korea testing missiles that could reach the US mainland, followed by both sides trading insults and threats of nuclear destruction.
The speech is aimed primarily at a domestic audience and like previous year, focused largely on the country’s economy.
In this year’s speech, broadcast on state television early on Tuesday, Kim said “if the US does not keep its promise made in front of the whole world… and insists on sanctions and pressures on our republic, we may be left with no choice but to consider a new way to safeguard our sovereignty and interests”.
North Korea, one of the poor countries of the world, is under various United Nations Security Council sanctions, related to its banned nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programmes.
The North Korean leader said the country had already pledged not to make, use or spread nuclear weapons and had taken concrete steps to implement this.
He also said he was ready to meet Trump again at any time.
They both met during a historic summit of 2018 in Singapore in June.
In what was the first time a North Korean leader was meeting a sitting US president. The two signed a vaguely phrased agreement to improve ties and work towards denuclearisation.
Since the Trump-Kim summit though, less progress has been made in talks for the country to denuclearize.
The US President has said he expects a second summit to take place as early as February this year, but there has been no confirmation yet.