United States lawmakers ask Trump to facilitate inter-Korean economic projects

Kim Jong-un

NEW TITLE Kim Jong-un has solidified his power

Moon's push to expand inter-Korean economic cooperation as a tool to accelerate the North's denuclearization has been largely obstructed by US -led sanctions on the regime.

In a speech to Pyongyang's rubber-stamp parliament on Friday, Kim said the Hanoi meeting had made him question whether Washington is "genuinely interested" in improving its relations with Pyongyang.

The US President said he wants sanctions on North Korea to remain in place, though he doesn't want to increase them.

On Thursday U.S. President Donald Trump, who has had two summits with Kim to discuss North Korean denuclearization and has expressed his willingness for a third, said Washington would leave sanctions in place.

He is a second-generation revolutionary and personally knew the late Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un's father, for over 50 years, North Korea Leadership Watch said.

Kim has signed vague statements calling for the "complete denuclearisation" of the peninsula in his meetings with Trump and Moon.

The failed face-to-face talks with President Donald Trump raise doubt whether the U.S. is really committed to improving relations with North Korea, its leader Kim Jong-un said, while promising to beef up the nation's defense. "But US-style dialogue of unilaterally pushing its demands doesn't fit us, and we have no interest in it", Kim said during the speech.

Kim said Friday that he's willing "try one more time" under the conditions that the United States "stop the current way of calculation" and approach talks with the "right attitude and (find) a methodology that can be shared with us".

Trump and Kim have met twice, in Hanoi in February and Singapore in June, building goodwill but failing to agree on a deal to lift sanctions in exchange for the DPRK abandoning its nuclear and missile programs.

Pompeo said that the two countries have continued communication since Trump and Kim's February summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, which Trump cut short.

Responding to Mr Kim's speech, South Korea repeated its stance of promoting the talks.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump shake hands during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House.

Mr Kim's year-end deadline probably reflects his desire to gain an edge in negotiations before Mr Trump turns his focus toward next year's presidential election, according to Mr Shin Beomchul, director at the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies' Center for Security and Unification.

"I would like to make it clear that it is my unwavering determination to make a new history of peace and prosperity", he said.

On Friday, KCNA reported Kim was re-elected as chairman of the State Affairs Commission, the North's most important decision-making body, to cheers and loud applause from the delegates.

North Korean officials have since expressed a readiness to resume the nuclear and ballistic missile program if the United States continues its aggressive policy toward the nation.

"The South should not act as an "overstepping mediator" or a "facilitator" and should rather get its mind straight as a member of the (Korean) nation and boldly speak up for the interest of the nation", Kim said.

The current US policy of sanctions and pressure is "as foolish and risky an act as trying to put out fire with oil", he added. In the months leading up to the talks, Pyongyang froze its nuclear and ballistic missile tests and demolished the only known nuclear test site.

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