Trump 'looks forward' to new meeting with N.Korea's Kim

However Kim said on Tuesday while his resolve for complete denuclearisation remains unchanged, he may have to seek a "new path" if the United States continues to demand unilateral action from North Korea.

Last year, President Trump temporarily suspended those exercises to move along negotiations.

But the North Korean leader was clear in his call for the US and South Korea to stop any future joint military exercises on the Korean Peninsula.

-South Korean alliance with their military cooperation coming under pressure from Pyongyang, Seoul's process for inter-Korean engagement, and Washington's current inability to reach an agreement on cost-sharing for the USA military presence in South Korea.

Nuclear talks have stalled over USA insistence on sanctions until the North takes concrete actions, such as submitting a list of its nuclear weapons.

But if the United States were to lift the unilateral and UN sanctions, it would require a leap of faith that Mr Kim would then actually take further action on the missiles - such as giving USA negotiators a list they have requested detailing exactly what weapons North Korea has.

A second summit is being planned for January or February, according to Trump.

"Chairman Kim's firm commitment is expected to have a positive effect on resolving the Korean Peninsula issue smoothly in the new year", Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

David Maxwell, a North Korea expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, called the speech and setting "a brilliantly crafted performance". Over the past year, the North destroyed a nuclear testing site in Punggye-ri in the presence of worldwide reporters, returned the remains of U.S. soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War and released detained United States citizens.

Town said the US and North Korea are approaching progress on denuclearization very differently. Last year, he delivered the speech behind a lectern.

For more on Kim Jong-un's speech and the latest on negotiations between the USA and North Korea, we get two views.

The North is demanding relief from the multiple sanctions imposed on it over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, and has condemned USA insistence on its nuclear disarmament as "gangster-like".

Kim called for stronger inter-Korean cooperation and said Pyongyang was ready to resume operations at a jointly run factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong and restart South Korean tours to the North's Diamond Mountain resort. Still, there has been no indication that the USA can lift some of the sanctions it has imposed on North Korea, either unilaterally, or in concert with other countries.

Since the first-ever summit between the USA and North Korea, little progress has been made as Pyongyang wants corresponding measures for the steps it has taken and Washington asks for more concrete steps before granting any quid pro quo.

Kim has previously said he would close the Yongbyon nuclear facility, where North Korea is believed to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons, if Washington takes what it calls "corresponding measures".

"We are willing to resume the Kaesong industrial complex and tour program to Kumgangsan without any preconditions or price, in consideration of South Korean businessmen who once worked at the complex and their hard situation, along with the hopes of our South Korean comrades who seek to visit our people's famous mountain", Kim said in his speech.

Little progress has been made since Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June a year ago.

Although Kim's address - which is an annual tradition in North Korea - is aimed mainly at a domestic audience, global observers parse his words to get a sense of the secretive Pyongyang regime's intentions.

A second summit early in 2019 would also help Mr Kim show a domestic audience he is on an equal footing with the leader of the free world.

Seoul and Pyongyang have pursued several reconciliation initiatives in recent months, including projects to upgrade the North's outdated rail infrastructure and reconnect it with the South.

South Korea praised the speech, noting that it was the first time that Mr Kim had uttered the term "complete denuclearisation" in public.

  • Jon Douglas