North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he is no longer bound by a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile testing on Tuesday, The Washington Post reports.
Kim said that the US broke a promise given by Trump that it would stop military drills with South Korea. He also said the US shipped advanced military equipment to the South Koreans and imposed new sanctions on North Korea, which Kim called “hostile” and “gangster-like acts.”
“He stressed that under such condition, there is no ground for us to get unilaterally bound to the commitment any longer, the commitment to which there is no opposite party, and this is chilling our efforts for worldwide nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation,” the Korean Central News Agency reported, according to The Post.
Kim warned that he would unveil a “new strategic weapon,” which The Post reports suggests a new intercontinental ballistic missile.
North Korea has not tested nuclear or long-range missiles in over two years.
Kim leaves door open to diplomacy:
Kim added that the “scope and depth of bolstering our deterrent” would depend on “the U.S. future attitude.”
Duyeon Kim, a senior adviser on Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, told The Post that Kim “left the door open to diplomacy.”
“They’re basically saying that nuclear weapons are integral to their economic success, rejecting Washington’s argument or formula that scrapping nuclear weapons guarantees economic prosperity,” she said. “We can expect Pyongyang to take a harder line this year, but Kim has still left the door open to diplomacy and kept the ball in Washington’s court by saying that any chance for denuclearization is contingent upon U.S. actions and intentions.”
Trump claims Kim “signed a contract”:
Asked about Kim’s speech during a New Year’s party at Mar-a-Lago, Trump insisted that he still has a “very good relationship” with the dictator.
“He likes me. I like him, We get along,” he said. “But he did sign a contract. He did sign an agreement talking about denuclearization. And that was signed -- number one sentence: denuclearization. That as done in Singapore. And I think he’s a man of his word.”
CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale noted that Kim signed a pledge to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” but none of those terms “were defined in any way.”