EghtesadOnline: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has renewed his commitment to denuclearization but warned that he may have no option but to seek an alternative course if the United States does not take corresponding measures and maintains sanctions.
Kim made the comments on Tuesday during his annual New Year's Day address, laying out Pyongyang's top priorities for the 12 months ahead.
In a 30-minute speech broadcast by North Korea's state television, he said there would be faster progress on denuclearization if Washington took the corresponding action, Aljazeera reported.
North Korea would have "no option but to explore a new path in order to protect our sovereignty" if the US "pursues sanctions and pressure without keeping a promise it made in front of the world", Financial Tribune quoted Kim as saying.
He was referring to his landmark summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, when he said he had "fruitful talks" and "exchanged constructive ideas".
At the time, the two leaders signed a vaguely-worded pledge on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but progress has since stalled with Pyongyang and Washington arguing over their agreement's interpretation.
"I am ready to sit with the US president again at any time in the future and will make efforts by all means to produce a result that will be welcomed by the international community," Kim said.
Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declares an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its initial, unilateral steps towards denuclearization, including dismantling its only known nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.
The North is subject to multiple sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile weapons programs.