Kim Jong-un is expected to use his New Year speech to shed light on the “new path” he promised if the US does not relax its stance towards the country’s nuclear capabilities.

The North Korean leader has vowed to change course if Donald Trump does not ease the sanctions pushing for denuclearisation by Mr Kim’s deadline of 31 December.

He is likely to outline this “new path” and a possible change in diplomacy towards the US in his closely-watched New Year address.

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The US has now ignored the year-end deadline to show more flexibility in order to reopen the talks aimed at dismantling North Korea‘s nuclear and missile programmes.

Mr Kim’s speech is expected to touch upon a wide range of issues from foreign affairs and military development to the economy and education.

US military commanders have speculated North Korea’s next move could include the testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable to transporting a nuclear warhead.

Robert O’Brien, US national security adviser, warned Washington would be “extraordinarily disappointed” if North Korea tests a long-range or nuclear missile.

A nuclear summit between the leaders broke down in February with “no agreement reached”. 

The US president claimed his North Korean counterpart had wanted the US to lift all their sanctions, which he refused to do. 

Talks on denuclearisation between the two countries have been at a stalemate ever since.  

The North Korean leader had said his “Christmas gift” to this US this year would depend whether Washington reduced its pressure campaign on his country.

Despite pressure from Mr Kim, US negotiators have dismissed their end of 2019 deadline as arbitrary and artificial. 

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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