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Kim Jong-un calls for ‘military counter-measures’ ahead of highly-anticipated New Year address

Kim spoke for seven hours during the ruling Workers’ Party meeting in Pyongyang.

Image: PA

NORTH KOREAN LEADER Kim Jong Un has called for active “diplomatic and military counter-measures” to preserve the country’s security.

The call came in a lengthy speech by Kim at a key political conference possibly meant to legitimise major changes to his nuclear diplomacy with the United States.

Kim spoke for seven hours during the ruling Workers’ Party meeting in Pyongyang, which continued into its third day on Monday.

He issued national goals for rebuilding the North’s economy and preparing active and “offensive political, diplomatic and military counter-measures for firmly preserving the sovereignty and security of the country”, according to state media.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the plenary meeting of the party’s Central Committee will extend to its fourth day today, a day before Kim is expected to use his annual New Year’s address to announce major changes to his economic and security policies.

Some experts believe the leader could use the speech to declare he is suspending his nuclear negotiations with Washington, which have stalemated over disagreements in exchanging sanctions relief and disarmament.

KCNA did not report any decisions made at the party meeting or mention any specific comment by Kim toward the United States.

But it said the country’s leader noted that the Workers’ Party is determined to enter “another arduous and protracted struggle”, possibly referring to efforts to overcome US-led sanctions and pressure, before concluding his speech with calls for “dynamically opening the road” towards building a powerful socialist nation.

KCNA said the party is working to draft a resolution based on the agenda laid out by Kim and plans to discuss an unspecified “important document”.

In his New Year’s speech to begin 2019, the leader said his country would pursue an unspecified “new path” if the administration of US president Donald Trump persists with sanctions and pressure on North Korea.

Negotiations faltered following the collapse of his second summit with Trump in February, where the Americans rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for the dismantling of an ageing nuclear facility in Yongbyon, which would only represent a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

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