North Korea to Trump: Don't test us

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It was not clear what "new path" the North Korean leader was referring to.

According to Sky News, Kim said: "Now that North and South Korea made a decision to take the path of peace and prosperity, we insist that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war equipment such as outside strategic assets should be completely stopped".

The North is demanding sanctions relief - it is subject to multiple measures over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes - and has condemned U.S. insistence on its nuclear disarmament as "gangster-like".

Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its unilateral steps toward denuclearization - including a moratorium on atomic tests, longer-range missile launches and closure of key sites.

Mr Kim and Mr Trump met for the first time in Singapore in June but, despite a great deal of hype, the resulting agreements were vague on how denuclearisation would be achieved.

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Seoul and Washington are in a security alliance and the U.S. stations 28,500 troops in the South.

Since the Trump-Kim summit though, less progress has been made than at least optimists had been hoping for.

TV screens show US President Donald Trump, right, meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

Washington and Pyongyang have yet to reschedule a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean officials after the North canceled it at the last minute in November.

But while Kim Jong Un says he wants to continue along the diplomatic path, the clear hint is that without some response from the United States, the rapprochement witnessed a year ago may go into reverse.

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Observers say those steps have not been confirmed and can be easily reversed.

The North Korean dictator said: "Now that North and South Korea decided on the path of peace and prosperity, we insist that joint military exercises with outside forces should no longer be allowed and deployment of war weapons such as outside strategic assets should be completely stopped".

He also called for South Korea and the USA to end joint military exercises which Kim described as "a source of tension". Washington halted some large-scale military exercises with Seoul to aid nuclear negotiations, but smaller drills continued.

"We will never tolerate outside interferences and interventions meant to block our way toward reconciliation, unity and the unification of our people, while trying to make our relations scummy to their states and interests", the North Korean leader said, adding that "significant" agreements achieved during 2018's three inter-Korean summits could be "regarded as non-aggression treaty".

Mr Kim congratulated himself on his diplomatic activities during 2018, including meetings with South Korean president Moon Jae-in and Chinese president Xi Jinping. Kim called for increasing electricity power generation in the country that battles chronic power shortages.

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Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled for months as they struggle with the sequencing of North Korea's disarmament and the removal of USA -led sanctions against the North. "The challenge, however, is will Team Trump be willing to back away from its position of zero sanctions relief?" said Harry Kazianis at the Washington-based Centre for the National Interest. Private analysts have accused North Korea of continuing nuclear and missile development, citing details from commercial satellite imagery.

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