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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un calls for “countermeasures”

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for “diplomatic and countermeasures”, North Korea’s official media announced Tuesday, hours before a deadline set by Pyongyang for Washington to change its stance on nuclear talks.

Kim’s comments came Monday during a plenary session of the ruling Labor Party and hours before a expected speech on the occasion of the New Year, during which he is expected to announce the “new path” that he intends to take at the end of that deadline.

In a hours-long speech, Kim called for measures to rebuild the economy, as well as “diplomatic and military countermeasures to firmly protect the sovereignty and security of the country,” the official North Korean News Agency reported.

The agency said that the participants in the ruling party meeting that started on Saturday will continue to discuss “an important document”, without specifying its content.

After an unprecedented rapprochement between Washington and Pyongyang in 2018, negotiations over the North Korean program reached a dead end after the failure of the Hanoi summit in February between US President Donald Trump and Kim.

The two countries have not succeeded in agreeing to dismantle the North Korean nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international economic sanctions on Pyongyang.

Rumors circulated that Pyongyang might abandon the “armistice” in terms of stopping tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that might put the United States in range, although the worrying threat of a “Christmas gift” to Washington no longer appears.

Lev-Erik Eisli, a researcher at Iwha University in Seoul, believes that North Korea may consider the period leading up to the April legislative elections in South Korea as “an opportunity to seek the maximum benefits, in exchange for offering the slightest concessions.”

“But Kim does not want to risk a conflict with the United States or a loss of China’s support due to excessive provocations,” Easley told AFP.

“Therefore, Pyongyang risks extending the period of diplomatic stumbling until it becomes clear whether Trump will head the new US administration or someone else,” he added.

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