North Korean leader convenes ruling party ahead of US deadline

Kim Jong Un meets top ruling party officials ahead of his deadline for US to change its stance on stalled talks.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with military officials
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with military officials

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has convened a key meeting of top ruling party officials, AFP reported Saturday, citing state media.

The meeting comes ahead of a year-end deadline that North Korea has set for the United States to shift its stance on stalled nuclear talks.

The plenary session, which opened on Saturday, follows widespread speculation that Pyongyang is preparing to test an intercontinental ballistic missile -- as a threatened "Christmas gift" for Washington.

Kim presided over the meeting which discussed a new "transparent, anti-imperialist independent stand", North Korea’s official news agency KCNA reported.

The ruling Workers' Party of Korea will also "discuss important matters arising... in the building of the state and national defense", it added.

The North has threatened to take unspecified action if US sanctions are not eased by the end of the year, and speculation has centered on the possibility of a new missile test, possibly of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

North Korea said earlier this month it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site and added its latest tests are aimed at “restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the US”.

Kim and US President Donald Trump engaged in months of mutual insults and threats of devastation in 2017, sending tensions soaring before a diplomatic rapprochement the following year.

The pair have met three times since June 2018, most recently in Vietnam in February, but with little progress towards denuclearization. Pyongyang has set Washington a December 31 deadline to make new concessions to kickstart stalled talks.

Since that June meeting, North Korea has conducted several tests of ballistic missiles.

Trump warned recently that Kim had "everything" to lose through hostility towards the United States.

This week, he was asked about the North Korean deadline and replied, “Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test. I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.”