News ID: 241346
Published: 0143 GMT April 13, 2019

North Korean leader says open to third Trump summit with conditions

North Korean leader says open to third Trump summit with conditions
AP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is open to a third summit with US President Donald Trump, but set the year's end as a deadline for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement to salvage the high-stakes nuclear diplomacy, the North's state-run media said Saturday.

Kim made the comments during a speech Friday at a session of North Korea's parliament, which made a slew of personnel changes that bolstered his diplomatic lineup amid stalemated negotiations with the United States. His speech came hours after Trump and visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in Washington and agreed on the importance of nuclear talks with North Korea, AP reported.

"We of course place importance on resolving problems through dialogue and negotiations. But US-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands doesn't fit us, and we have no interest in it," Kim said during the speech.

According to the Korean Central News Agency, or KCNA, Kim blamed the collapse of his summit with Trump in February on what he described as unilateral demands by the United States, which he said raised questions over whether Washington has genuine willingness to improve relations. But Kim said his personal relationship with Trump remains good and that they could exchange letters at "any time."

Kim repeated earlier claims that North Korea's crippled economy would persevere through heavy international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program and that he wouldn't "obsess over summitry with the United States out of thirst for sanctions relief."

The United States has said the summit in Vietnam broke down because of the North's excessive demands for sanctions relief in return for limited disarmament measures. In their first summit last June in Singapore, Trump and Kim issued a vague statement calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when or how it would occur.

Kim said the United States has been refusing to withdraw what the North perceives as "hostile policies" while sticking to "mistaken judgment that we would succumb to maximum pressure." He said the North would not compromise on the "fundamental interests of our country and people, even by a speck," and blamed the United States for arriving in Hanoi with "completely unrealizable plans."

"If the United States approaches us with the right manner and offers to hold a third North Korea-US leaders' summit on the condition of finding solutions we could mutually accept, then we do have a willingness to give it one more try," Kim added. "We will wait with patience until the end of the year for the United States to come up with a courageous decision. But it will clearly be difficult for a good opportunity like last time to come up."

Kim also during the speech made a nationalistic call for South Korea to support the North's positions more strongly and criticized Seoul for acting like an "overstepping mediator" between Washington and Pyongyang. Kim held three summits last year with Moon, who lobbied hard to revive the nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea. Following the collapse of the Trump-Kim summit, the North had been urging the South to break away from Washington and proceed with inter-Korean economic projects that are currently held back by US-led sanctions against the North.

When asked about Kim's comments, South Korea's presidential office said Seoul is committed toward keeping the atmosphere of dialogue alive and helping negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang resume at an early date.

 

 

   
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