Kim Jong-un has used his New Year’s Day address to warn that Pyongyang is not afraid to change direction if frustrated by the US. Picture: KRT via AP
Kim Jong-un has used his New Year’s Day address to warn that Pyongyang is not afraid to change direction if frustrated by the US. Picture: KRT via AP

North Korean leader debuts new look

KIMJong-un has warned he is not afraid to change his country's commitment to demilitarisation if continued sanctions from the United States are not lifted.

The leader of North Korea used a televised speech yesterday to warn the US to keep its promises and not test the patience of his people, or he will be forced to take the country down a different path. The warning comes after Mr Kim met with US President Trump to discuss the country's denuclearisation last year.

Much has been made of the controversial leader's basic black suit, the outfit a departure from his usual military style, colour-blocked khaki or all-black suit.

Mr Kim spoke from a chesterfield lounge flanked by photos of his uncle and father, wearing a dark black suit with a classic white shirt and a patterned navy tie.

Mr Kim's heavily publicised televised speech touched on a number of issues, with much of the speech focusing on the local economy and trying to bring economic stability to the nation. But Mr Kim also took the opportunity to send messages to both the neighbouring nation of South Korea and the United States.

 

Mr Kim was flanked by photos of former leaders of North Korea. Picture: AP via KRT
Mr Kim was flanked by photos of former leaders of North Korea. Picture: AP via KRT

The speech was broadcast in both North and South Korea and featured Mr Kim calling for the "heyday of peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean Peninsula by thoroughly implementing the historic North-South declarations!"

The economic goals of North Korea are being hampered by continued US sanctions, which are blocking the North from reopening an industrial park as well as a halting plans to encourage tourism from South Koreans to the North Korean Diamond Mountain resort.

Both plans remain impossible with the current US sanctions on the country.

In June of last year the North Korean leader met with US President Donald Trump to discuss the rogue nation embarking on a process of denuclearisation.

But talks appear to have stalled, and the leader said continued sanctions would leave North Korea with "no option but to explore a new path."

"I am ready to sit down with the President of the United States at any time and work towards results that the international community will be happy with," Mr Kim stated.

"However, if the U.S. does not keep the promises it made and tests our people's patience while pressuring us with sanctions and forcing us to take action.

"We will have no option but to explore a new path in order to protect our sovereignty and achieve peace on the Korean peninsula."

Mr Kim also said that military exercises between the US and South Korea should halt.

In August the top diplomat from North Korea accused the US of not living up to President Trump's promises, and foreshadowed Mr Kim's recent New Year's warnings.

North Korea had taken a number of agreed upon steps towards denuclearising the country, including stopping ballistic missile tests and dismantling their missile engine sites, according to Ri Yong-ho, North Korea's foreign minister. Mr Ri said the US was not holding up its end up the bargain by lifting sanctions and formalising the end of the Korean War, according to the New York Times.

TRUMP RESPONDS TO NORTH KOREA

President Trump responded to the address via his Twitter account, downplaying implied tension after Mr Kim's remarks, saying, "I also look forward to meeting with Chairman Kim who realises so well that North Korea possesses great economic potential!"