North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un before a meeting with US President Donald Trump on the south side of the Military Demarcation Line that divides North and South Korea, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized zone (DMZ) on June 30, 2019.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / Getty Images
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said on Wednesday he would continue developing his country’s nuclear deterrent and introduce a new strategic weapon in the near future, according to the North’s state-run media KCNA, after the United States missed a year-end deadline for a restart of denuclearisation talks.
While accusing Washington of making “gangster-like demands,” Kim said at a key ruling Workers’ Party meeting that the scope of the nuclear deterrent will depend on the United States’ future attitude, leaving the door for dialogue open.
The announcement comes a week after the world braced for a “Christmas gift” that Kim promised to send to the United States. Trump downplayed Kim’s cryptic message and said that rather than a missile test, “maybe it’s a nice present.”
“Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test,” Trump said. “I may get a vase. I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.”
Under third-generation North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the reclusive state has conducted its most powerful nuclear test, launched its first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile and threatened to send missiles into the waters near Guam.
Since 2011, Kim has launched more than 100 missiles and conducted four nuclear weapons tests, which is more than what his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather, Kim Il Sung, launched over a period of 27 years.
Earlier this month, North Korean state media said that a “very important” test was carried out at a rocket testing ground. Trump responded to the report by tweeting that Kim risks losing “everything” if he does not take steps to denuclearize.
“Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to his first summit with Kim in 2018.
North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations said on the heels of the test that, denuclearization was off the negotiating table with the U.S. and lengthy talks with Washington were no longer needed.
Reuters contributed to this report.