The Guardian: Trump repeats demand to relinquish nuclear weapons
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said the failed Hanoi summit make him wonder if the US was genuine about improving ties. Photograph: 朝鮮通信社/AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is interested in meeting Donald Trump again only if the US comes to talks with the right attitude, state media said on Saturday, after the US president floated the idea.
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In return, Trump offered familiar praise of the North Korean dictator and said his country could expect “extraordinary growth, economic success and riches” under his leadership… if it relinquished its nuclear weapons.
Trump and Kim have met twice, in Hanoi in February and Singapore last June, building goodwill but failing to agree on a deal to lift sanctions in exchange for North Korea abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.
Trump said on Thursday he was open to meeting Kim again, but in a speech on Friday the North Korean leader said the outcome in Hanoi had forced him to question the strategy he embraced last year, of international engagement and economic development.
Kim said the breakdown in talks with the US had raised the risks of returning to past tensions, and that he would wait “until the end of this year” for the US to decide, according to state news agency KCNA.
“What is needed is for the US to stop its current way of calculation, and come to us with a new calculation,” Kim said in a speech to the Supreme People’s Assembly on Friday, KCNA said.
“The second DPRK-US summit in Hanoi in February raised strong questions about whether the steps we took under our strategic decision were right, and gave us a sense of caution about whether the US is even really trying to improve the DPRK-US relationship,” Kim said, using the initials of North Korea’s full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
In Hanoi, the US came with “completely unrealisable plans” and was “not really ready to sit with us face-to-face and solve the problem”, Kim said.
“By that sort of thinking, the US will not be able to move us one iota even if they sat with us a hundred, thousand times, and will not be able to get what it wants at all.”
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Kim said his personal relationship with Trump is still good, but that he had no interest in a third summit if it is a repeat of Hanoi.
“The US said recently that it is thinking again of a third DPRK-US summit and have been strongly implying problem-solving through dialogue,” he continued. “But they continue to ignore the basic way of the new DPRK-US relations, including withdrawing hostile policies, and mistakenly believe that if they pressure us to the maximum, they can subdue us.”
At a summit with South Korean president Moon in Washington on Thursday, Trump said Washington would leave sanctions in place on Pyongyang. Last month, a senior North Korean official warned that Kim might rethink a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests in place since 2017 unless Washington makes concessions such as easing sanctions.
On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted his thoughts.
“I agree with Kim Jong-un of North Korea that our personal relationship remains very good, perhaps the term excellent would be even more accurate,” the president wrote, adding that a third summit “would be good in that we fully understand where we each stand.”
Trump added that North Korea could achieve “extraordinary growth, economic success and riches under the leadership of Chairman Kim” but indicated the main sticking point in talks when he said he looked forward to the day “which could be soon, when nuclear weapons and sanctions can be removed”.
First published by The Guardian
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