North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has struck a defiant note over his failed summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi and insisted Pyongyang would overcome the effect of sanctions, state media reported on Thursday.
The remarks were Kim’s first official comment on the North’s position since talks on denuclearisation with Washington broke down in Vietnam in February, in part over Pyongyang’s demands for immediate sanctions relief.
Trump was set to host South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House later on Thursday, seeking to rekindle dialogue with the North.
Kim told top officials of the ruling Workers’ Party on Wednesday to push ahead with “self-reliance” to undermine the sanctions, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
He said developing the socialist economy would “deal a telling blow to the hostile forces who go with bloodshot eyes miscalculating that sanctions can bring the DPRK to its knees,” the report said, using the acronym for the North’s official name.
Kim made no mention of nuclear weapons, nor did he criticise his US counterpart, according to KCNA.
Trump and Kim held their first landmark summit in Singapore last June, where the pair signed a vaguely-worded agreement on the “denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.
But the failure to reach agreement at their second summit in Hanoi – which broke up without even a joint statement – has raised questions over the future of the wider process.
Both sides expressed willingness to talk further and Trump has repeatedly said since that he maintains good relations with his North Korean counterpart, boasting he had blocked new sanctions planned for Pyongyang.
North Korea has also been careful not to criticise Trump personally, while saying last month that sanctions against it were an “action against humanity to destroy modern civilisation and turn the society back in a mediaeval dark age”.