SEOUL, South Korea – North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country no longer felt compelled by its self-imposed moratorium to test nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, their official media reported on Wednesday. stronger indication. that the country could soon resume such tests.
Kim also said the world would witness a new strategic weapon "in the near future," according to the North Korea Central News Agency, although no details were provided.
North Korea has not conducted a long-range missile test or a nuclear test in more than two years. Kim had announced his moratorium at a time when he hoped that negotiations with the United States, and his incipient personal relationship with President Trump, would prompt the United States to begin lifting crippling sanctions.
Trump has often cited the moderation of the North as a great diplomatic achievement. The two leaders have met three times.
The North set a deadline on December 31 for the United States to make concessions, including the lifting of at least some sanctions, complaining that its 18 months of diplomacy with Trump showed limited results. And for weeks, US officials feared that Kim could test an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM.
Mr. Kim is expected to make his annual New Year speech in a matter of hours, and it is unclear whether a test is imminent. It is possible that Mr. Kim's announcement on Wednesday is, by itself, the warning shot he wants to send in an effort to force Trump, on the eve of a year of presidential elections, to begin lifting the sanctions.