Source: KIM GAMEL AND YOO KYONG CHANG | STARS AND STRIPES
SEOUL, South Korea — The stage was set for an increase in tensions as the U.S. missed North Korea’s end-of-year deadline to break the deadlock in nuclear talks on Tuesday amid fears the communist state plans to resume long-range missile tests.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for “offensive political, diplomatic and military countermeasures” to protect his country’s security and sovereignty in a seven-hour speech on Monday, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
The communist state has threatened to adopt an unspecified “new way” if Washington fails to propose a more flexible approach to talks that have stalled over conflicting demands for sanctions relief and more extensive steps toward denuclearization.
Kim, who also widely was expected to make a New Year’s speech on Wednesday, didn’t mention nuclear weapons nor specify the countermeasures that should be employed in his remarks to a meeting of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party.
But he stressed the need to develop “the party into a militant party full of vitality and vigor,” KCNA reported Tuesday. The third-generation leader also called for measures to improve the country’s economy, which has been hit hard by international sanctions.
Official media also published photos of Kim wearing a white shirt and horn-rimmed glasses as he spoke at a podium while rows of officials took notes.