Kim Jong Un has called for active “diplomatic and military counter-measures” in a mammoth seven-hour speech.
The speech by the North Korean leader during the ruling Workers’ Party meeting in Pyongyang has been seen by some as a step towards changing his nuclear diplomacy with the US.
He outlined national goals for rebuilding the North’s economy and preparing active and “offensive political, diplomatic and military counter-measures for firmly preserving the sovereignty and security of the country”, according to North Korean’s state media.
Kim Jong Un is also expected to use his annual New Year’s address to announce major changes to his economic and security policies, with some experts speculating that he could use the speech to announce the suspension of nuclear negotiations with Washington.
While initially promising, nuclear diplomacy between the two countries appeared to reached a stalemate after a second summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un collapsed in February.
In recent months, North Korea hinted at lifting its moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests if the US administration failed to make substantial concessions before the end of the year and on Christmas Eve, Donald Trump said that Kim Jong Un may be planning to give him “a nice present” such as a “beautiful vase” for Christmas rather than a missile launch.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not report any decisions made at the party meeting or mention any specific comment by Mr Kim toward the United States.
It said the party is working to draft a resolution based on the agenda laid out by Mr Kim and plans to discuss an unspecified “important document”.
In his New Year’s speech last year, Kim Jong Un said his country would pursue an unspecified “new path” if Donald Trump persisted with sanctions and pressure on North Korea.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the Trump administration still believes it “can find a path forward to convince the leadership in North Korea that their best course of action is to create a better opportunity for their people by getting rid of their nuclear weapons”.
Mr Pompeo told Fox and Friends: “We’re watching what they’re doing here in the closing days of this year, and we hope that they’ll make a decision that will lead to a path of peace, and not one towards confrontation.”