North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is open to a third summit with US president Donald Trump.
But Mr Kim set a deadline of the end of 2019 for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement to salvage the high-stakes nuclear diplomacy, the country’s state-run media said Saturday.
He made the comments during a speech on Friday at a session of the North Korea’s parliament, which made a slew of personnel changes that bolstered his diplomatic lineup amid stalemated negotiations with the United States.
His speech came hours after Mr Trump and visiting South Korean president Moon Jae-in met in Washington and agreed on the importance of nuclear talks with North Korea.
“We of course place importance on resolving problems through dialogue and negotiations. But US-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands doesn’t fit us, and we have no interest in it,” Mr Kim said during the speech.
According to the Korean Central News Agency, he blamed the collapse of his summit with Mr Trump in February on what he described as unilateral demands by the United States, which he said raised questions over whether Washington has genuine willingness to improve relations.
But he said his personal relationship with the American president remains good and that they could exchange letters at “any time”.
Mr Kim repeated earlier claims that North Korea’s crippled economy would persevere through heavy international sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons program and that he wouldn’t “obsess over summitry with the United States out of thirst for sanctions relief”.
The United States has said the summit in Vietnam broke down because of the North’s excessive demands for sanctions relief in return for limited disarmament measures.
In their first summit last June in Singapore, Mr Trump and Mr Kim issued a vague statement calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.
Mr Kim said the United States has been refusing to withdraw what the North perceives as “hostile policies” while sticking to “mistaken judgment that we would succumb to maximum pressure”.
He said the North would not compromise on the “fundamental interests of our country and people, even by a speck,” and blamed the United States for arriving in Hanoi with “completely unrealisable plans.”
“If the United States approaches us with the right manner and offers to hold a third North Korea-US leaders’ summit on the condition of finding solutions we could mutually accept, then we do have a willingness to give it one more try,” he added.