After racing toward the goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States in 2017, Kim used last year's speech to warn that "a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office" and order mass production of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles. "He's exuding confidence that his country isn't hung up over the USA, that they can still prosper without Washington".
"Now that North and South Korea made a decision to take the path of peace and prosperity, we demand that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war equipment such as foreign strategic assets should be completely stopped", Kim was quoted as saying.
Leung believes that while denuclearization has not been as swift as many had hoped, neither Trump nor Kim is interested in going back to the "fire and fury scenario" and are more likely than not to meet again.
Kim used his New Year's speech a year ago to start a newfound diplomatic approach with Seoul and Washington, which led to his meetings with Moon and Trump.
But he also offered to send a delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in the South in February, setting off a flurry of diplomacy that included three summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and the meeting with Trump in June.
According to Kim Dong-yub, this is not only a message to South Korea, asking it to determine its North Korea policy independently without the involvement of the United States, but also an indirect appeal to Washington for an alleviation of the sanctions.
"North Korea has always been adept at putting the onus for action on the United States, taking the initiative in a way that forces Washington to either react on Pyongyang's terms or look like the obstacle to progress", Mintaro Oba, a former USA diplomat specialising in the Koreas, told the Telegraph.
Kim said that North Korea had already pledged not to make, use or spread nuclear weapons and had taken concrete steps to implement this.
"If the United States takes honest measures and corresponding action to our leading and pre-emptive efforts, then relations will advance at a fast and excellent pace through the process of implementing definite and groundbreaking measures", he said.
Kim's remarks were "apparently created to revive the momentum of the negotiations", South Korea's centrist Hankook Ilbo newspaper said in an editorial Wednesday. "Delivering the speech from his well-appointed study with the accompanying background videos highlighting economic development was well thought out and makes Kim appear normal, rational, and someone whom the worldwide community can embrace and with whom it can negotiate. Discussions on reducing or eliminating that arsenal come later", said Mount.
At the summit, the president hailed a new beginning in U.S. North Korea spent 2018 trying versions of the stonewalling tactics and tricks it has used successfully against previous US administrations, including supposedly historic concessions that actually did little to reduce its research capabilities or could be easily reversed. The Trump administration fears that if sanctions are loosened now, the maximum pressure needed to compel denuclearization will never be restored.
Kim also reiterated his "strong will" and the North Korean government's "unchanged" position to pursue better relations with the U.S. and to seek complete denuclearization. "Chairman Kim's firm commitment is expected to have a positive effect on resolving the Korean Peninsula issue smoothly in the new year", a presidential spokesman said on Tuesday morning. The two sides have clashed over the pace and sequence of talks, with North Korea demanding relief from global sanctions and the USA seeking more steps toward disarmament.
Kim made the remarks during his New Year's speech broadcast by the country's state television, also urging the U.S.to take corresponding measures in exchange for denuclearization steps the communist nation has taken so far.