North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says the United States has raised the risk of returning to past tensions after the collapse of his second summit with President Donald Trump, stressing that yet another meeting between the two leaders is only possible if Washington comes with the right attitude.
The North's official KCNA news agency on Saturday quoted Kim as making the remarks, two days after Trump floated the idea of holding a potential third nuclear summit with the North’s leader.
“What is needed is for the US to stop its current way of calculation, and come to us with a new calculation,” Kim was quoted as saying in a speech to the Supreme People’s Assembly on Friday.
He also said that he would wait “until the end of this year” for Washington to decide.
Back in late February, Trump and Kim reached an impasse at their second face-to-face denuclearization talks in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, with Washington demanding full disarmament and Pyongyang demanding economic incentives through partial lifting harsh sanctions.
The second summit in fact did collapse when the American president abruptly walked away from the talks without reaching a deal or even issuing a final statement.
Trump claimed that he quit the talks because Kim demanded to lift all economic sanctions as a prerequisite to denuclearization.
However, Pyongyang quickly responded that it had never asked for the removal of all sanctions, but only the partial removal of them.
In June last year, the two leaders met at a historic summit for the first time in Singapore, where they agreed to work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Subsequent diplomacy between the two sides, however, made little progress, mainly because Washington refused to lift its crippling sanctions.
“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 added, using the initials of North Korea’s full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The North’s leader also said that Washington came with “completely unrealizable plans” to Hanoi and that the US was “not really ready to sit with us face-to-face and solve the problem.”
“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,” Kim stressed.
The North Korean leader further blamed the US for continuing “to ignore the basic way of the new DPRK-US relations, including withdrawing hostile policies.”
Kim also warned that the White House mistakenly believes that “if they pressure us to the maximum, they can subdue us”, stressing that he had no interest in a third summit if it is a repeat of Hanoi.
The North’s leader also noted that his relations with Trump remained excellent.
So far, Pyongyang has taken several steps toward the goal by suspending missile and nuclear testing, demolishing at least one nuclear test site, and agreeing to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility.
The US, however, has insisted that sanctions on the North must remain in place until it completely and irreversibly dismantles its nuclear program.
The collapse of the Hanoi summit also disappointed US-ally South Korea, which has been improving relations with the North since early 2018.
Moon, who acts as a go-between in diplomacy involving Washington and Pyongyang, flew to Washington earlier this week in his third official visit to the US with the objective of helping put denuclearization talks with North Korea back on track after the Hanoi failed summit.
Despite the fact that that the situation on the Korean Peninsula had significantly improved following a number of high-level talks last year between Pyongyang and Seoul, as well as Washington, the North is still subject to harsh international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.