North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to ring in the New Year with an annual address to highlight top priorities he has for the rogue, but increasingly less hostile, nation amid a deadlock in denuclearization talks with the United States.
"However, if the United States continues to break its promises and misjudges our patience by unilaterally demanding certain things and pushes ahead with sanctions and pressure against our republic, then we may have to seek another way to protect our country's sovereignty and interest and establish peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula", he added.
Kim Jong Un says he is ready to sit down again with President Donald Trump - but also warned the United States against imposing more sanctions.
This would make Kim's speech the first real test of US resolve on the path to denuclearization.
Kim has said he still stands behind the denuclearization commitment he made to President Trump during the pair's historic Singapore summit, but little progress has been made since June. On the front page of the ruling party's flagship newspaper was Kim touring monuments to capitalism, stepping out of a Chinese jet and smiling while shaking hands with the "imperialist" USA president.
The leader's New Year speech is a key moment in the North Korean political calendar, reviewing the past and setting out out goals for the future.
Kim's speech "expressed his frustration with the lack of progress in negotiations so far", said former South Korean vice unification minister Kim Hyung-seok.
He emphasized that the all the agreements reached during last year's three inter-Korean summits carry "significant meaning" in that they could be regarded as non aggression treaty between the Koreas.
One such sticking point could be Kim's offer to resume operations with the South at the Kaesong industrial complex in the border area, a move which would be banned under the current sanctions regime.More news: Three killed after gas explosion at building in Russian Federation
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During Kim's three days in Singapore, North Korean state media trumpeted daily images never before seen in Pyongyang. "He's exuding confidence that his country isn't hung up over the U.S., that they can still prosper without Washington", the analyst added.
North Korea also interprets the pathway to peaceful relations on the Korean Peninsula as requiring an end to military cooperation between South Korea and the United States and its allies.
The US has thousands of troops in the region and, while some larger military exercises have been stopped, smaller ones continue.
In this photo taken on December 31, 2018, revelers pose for photos before an ice sculpture during a New Year's eve countdown event and fireworks display on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea.
While North Korea's denuclearization has stalled since Kim's summit with US President Donald Trump in June, partially due to the US's reluctance to provide sanctions relief to the North, inter-Korean reconciliation is proceeding at a steady pace.
"Expanding what he says he's willing to do while insisting on unspecified reciprocal US concessions to put those actions into effect puts greater pressure on Washington", Oba said.
Washington and Pyongyang are trying to arrange a second summit between Trump and Kim, who met in Singapore on June 12.
As for Japan, it remains unclear if Kim is truly open to a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, though he hinted past year at the possibility "at an appropriate time", according to South Korea's Moon.
"In sum he wants to portray himself as a real player on the worldwide scene", he added.
"Japan, a political dwarf which has come under bitter denunciation and rejection by the worldwide community for its bad habit of seeking benefits in the troubled waters, dares to challenge the strong trend of peace and stability in the region".
"My sense is that Kim wants to portray himself as a legitimate leader in the global community both superior to Moon Jae-in and an equal to Donald Trump", Maxwell wrote.