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Kim Jong-un, Ready to Meet Trump ‘at Any Time,’ Demands U.S. End Sanctions

North Korea is “very good at playing hard to get. They are always saying, ‘We could go back to our old ways,’” said Lee Sung-yoon, a professor of Korean studies at the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Mr. Lee, who said Mr. Kim had shrewdly tempered his rhetoric, said he did not believe the North Korean leader intended to abandon his nuclear weapons program.

“He came across as more peace-prone, reform-minded and denuclearization-prone, which I think is a ruse,” Mr. Lee said. “A nation doesn’t spend 50 years in building the bomb and just give it up for the empty privilege of shaking hands with the U.S. president. But it’s in his interest to play this game for the time being.”

Mr. Trump has indicated that he wants to meet Mr. Kim for a second summit meeting early in the year.

In his New Year’s speech, Mr. Kim praised the progress toward further cooperation that the two Koreas had made over the previous year. “North and South Koreans have to continue resolving our tensions in the skies, waters and land in and surrounding the peninsula, through carrying out practical measures based on already agreed upon inter-Korean agreements,” he said.

He also suggested that South Koreans who once worked at the Kaesong industrial complex, which was run jointly by North and South Korea and shut down in 2016, should be allowed to return. The North, he suggested, would accommodate them unconditionally.

“We should all be proud that we are moving together, North and South, as Koreans,” he said. “We should expand our inter-Korean cooperation so that we can actually see changes.”

Over the weekend, Mr. Kim sent a rare personal letter to the South Korean leader, Moon Jae-in, saying he hoped to visit Seoul in the new year. Analysts expect he may also try to meet China’s president, Xi Jinping, and Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.

Source: NYT > World

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