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Kim calls for 'diplomatic, military countermeasures' ahead of end-of-year deadline

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for "diplomatic and military countermeasures" for preserving the country's sovereignty and security during an ongoing Workers' Party meeting, state media reported Tuesday, ahead of the impending expiry of Pyongyang's end-of-year deadline for US concessions.

He made the calls at the third-day session of the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the North's ruling Workers Party on Monday, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

The meeting came as North Korea has threatened to take a "new way" in denuclearization talks if Washington fails to come up with an acceptable proposal before the end of this year, hinting it would otherwise end diplomacy and revert to provocative acts.


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (KCNA-Yonhap)

Kim urged party members to prepare "positive and offensive political, diplomatic and military countermeasures for firmly preserving the sovereignty and security of the country, intensifying the combat against anti-socialist and non-socialist acts," the KCNA said.

"He made a comprehensive report on the work of the Central Committee of the WPK, state building, economic development and building of the armed forces for seven hours at the plenary meeting," it added.

Kim called for the party's stepped-up efforts to foster its leadership ability and turn itself into a "militant party full of vitality and vigor."

The KCNA said that a process has started to draw up the draft resolution of relevant agenda items being discussed. It added that the plenary meeting "goes on," suggesting an additional session will take place Tuesday.

It is unusual for the North to have such a multiple-day party meeting. The committee is one of the communist state's highest decision-making bodies, though it rubber-stamps the policy presented by Kim who has absolute power.

The plenary party meeting came ahead of a much-anticipated New Year's Day address leader Kim is to deliver Wednesday amid growing signs that he could announce a major policy shift in its denuclearization talks with the US.

Experts say that North Korea could declare an end to denuclearization talks with the US and resume tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons.

An ICBM test would represent a setback for US President Donald Trump as he has boasted of the suspension of such weapons tests as one of his greatest diplomatic achievements.

North Korea declared a moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests during a plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee in April 2018. The highly symbolic gesture led to Kim's first-ever summit with Trump two months later.

Denuclearization talks have been stalled since the second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump ended without an agreement due to wide differences over how to match Pyongyang's denuclearization measures and Washington's sanctions relief.

Pyongyang has wanted major sanctions relief to bolster its economy in exchange for closing the key nuclear test complex in Yongbyon. Washington has called for more denuclearization steps.

The two sides met again in October in Stockholm but failed to narrow their differences.

North Korea earlier warned that it is entirely up to Washington what "Christmas gift" it wants to get, spawning speculation a major provocation might be forthcoming. The holiday passed without a test, but Washington and Seoul remain on high alert.

The US has warned Pyongyang against provocations, saying it could lose everything and urging it to return to the negotiation table. North Korea has not responded to the offer and said it has nothing more to lose.

In Washington, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he hopes that North Korea will choose "a path of peace, not confrontation" as Washington is closely watching what leader Kim is to announce in his New Year's Day address. (Yonhap)



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