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View more articles by Dagyum Ji
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a speech Friday said he would be prepared to hold another summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, stressing that the DPRK is only interested in a “fair” deal beneficial to the two countries.
Speaking at the second day of the First Session of the 14th SPA held at Pyongyang’s Mansudae Assembly Hall, Kim was on Saturday reported to have urged the U.S. to make a “resolute decision” by the end of the year on whether it wants diplomacy with the DPRK to continue.
In one of Kim’s first in-depth speeches concerning Pyongyang’s position in the aftermath of February’s no-deal second DPRK-U.S. summit, the North Korea leader was reported to have said he was not interested in a third meeting with Trump if it stood to be a repetition of that encounter.
North Korea is open to a third summit, Kim told recently-elected deputies to the 14th SPA in a Korean-language statement carried by ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun and the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), but only under certain conditions.
“If the U.S. proposes to hold the third DPRK-U.S. summit under the condition that the country has the right stance and finds out the methodology that can share with us, we are willing to try it one more time,” he said, in comments made as part of a speech on “administrative” issues.
“But I think there is no need to be obsessed with the summit with the U.S. with a thirst for the issue of easing sanctions,” he added, stressing that he would only sign an agreement which was beneficial to both countries’ interests and contained “fair content.”
The aftermath of February’s no-deal summit saw North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho say Pyongyang had asked Washington to partially lift clauses of five United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions that harmed the “civilian economy.”
Since then the U.S. has insisted that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes, with President Trump on Thursday reiterating that he wanted a “big deal” in which the DPRK fully relinquishes its nuclear arsenal.
But U.S. officials have also expressed openness to another Kim-Trump summit, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier in the month saying he hoped the two could meet again soon.
The North Korean leader on Friday said the U.S. position would dictate whether the summit takes place, reiterating that he expects that the Trump administration will make a “wise judgment at a critical time.”
“I will wait for the U.S. resolute decision by the end of this year with patience in any case, but it will be probably hard to gain a good opportunity like last time,” Kim said.
“What is clear is that the prospects for solving a problem will be bleak and very dangerous if the U.S. clings to the current political calculation method.”
Kim repeatedly urged Washington to change its current calculus, a move which he said would allow both sides to “lay down unilateral requirements and seek constructive solutions meeting each other’s interests.”
Despite calls for dialogue, he said, the U.S. “miscalculates that it can bring us into submission by pressing us to the maximum.”
“We, of course, value solving a problem through dialogue and negotiation,” Kim said. “But the U.S.-style dialogue method… is not fit for us constitutionally and we have no interest in it.”
In his speech, the North Korean leader said the outcome of the second DPRK-U.S. summit caused him to have “strong doubt if their steps of making a strategic determination and great and resolute decision are right.”
After that meeting, Kim said, he had begun to “have wariness if the U.S. sincerely considers improving DPRK-U.S. relations,” saying Trump had brought a “totally infeasible” proposal to that meeting.
Washington “was not ready to resolve the issue sitting down and facing us and had no clever orientation and methodology,” Kim said.
“With such deliberation, the U.S. will not be able to make move us at all and gain any profits if it sits face to face with us a hundred or a thousand times.”
Kim is “very displeased” with U.S. moves to resume ROK-U.S. military drills and conduct tests of hardware intended to intercept the DPRK’s intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
Pyongyang will take corresponding measures if the U.S.’s “hostile policy against the DPRK comes to the fore,” he warned.
But Kim also said he and Trump maintain an “excellent relationship” and can exchange letters “at any time,” in comments that echo remarks made by the U.S. President during an ROK-U.S. summit earlier in the week.
Reiterating that his relationship with Kim was “very good,” the U.S. President on Thursday said he had recently decided against “significantly increasing” sanctions against the DPRK because of his close ties with the North Korean leader.
But he also stressed that his administration wants sanctions to remain in place for the time being, dismissing the idea of restarting inter-Korean cooperation at the now-shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC).
North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui in March said she expected Kim to “soon make a decision” regarding the country’s position in the aftermath of February’s no-deal summit with the U.S.
Wednesday saw the DPRK leader break his silence on the summit at a meeting of the country’s central committee, with state media reporting that he had “clarified the main tenor of the recent DPRK-U.S. summit talks and the Party’s stand towards it.”
In a speech, Kim also urged the country to “deal a telling blow to the hostile forces who go with bloodshot eyes miscalculating that sanctions can bring the DPRK to its knees.”
Friday’s meeting saw Kim stress that the “current political situation” required the country to uphold the banner of self-reliance.
The country must “wipe out the gust of sanctions of hostile forces with a craze for self-support and self-reliance as we have terminated the long-time nuclear threat with nuclear [weapons],” he said.
The U.S. — which “fears for its homeland security” in the face of the DPRK’s nuclear arsenal — “desperately clings to economic sanctions,” he said.
North Korea is facing a “situation where the U.S. lays down conditions which run counter to the country’s fundamental interests in return for easing sanctions.”
“The confrontation between us will… be prolonged in any case and sanctions by hostile forces will also continue.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: KCNA