Nuclear-armed North Korea wants good relations with the United States but could consider a change of approach if Washington maintains its sanctions, leader Kim Jong Un warned in his New Year speech on Tuesday after 12 months of diplomatic rapprochement.
Kim said he was willing to meet the USA president at any time, mixing in conciliatory messages with his warnings of conflict to Washington and Seoul in his annual speech where he laid out policy priorities for his isolated and impoverished country.
However, he added: "We could be left with no choice but to seek a new way if the USA does not make good on its promises, misjudge our patience, while seeking to force things unilaterally and clinging to..."
If Mr Kim walked away from talks and resumed weapons tests, he would risk undercutting Mr Trump's assertion that North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat.
Kim emphasized that it is his firm intention to work on building "new relations" with the USA, establishing lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula and seeking "complete denuclearization", as agreed to in his June summit with Trump, if the US takes trustworthy and corresponding measures.
The only way to resolve the long-running nuclear conundrum is for the United States and North Korea to agree on "stage-by-stage arrangements so there will be reciprocity in mutual concessions", Cheng believes.
In particular, he demanded an end to South Korea's joint military exercises with the USA and to crippling economic sanctions.
"While the global community's perception of North Korea has considerably improved after the Singapore summit and three intra-Korean summits, Pyongyang has not yet received any concrete benefits from the United States, nor from South Korea and China", Cheng noted, adding that "the South Korean government is certainly happy and ready to offer economic aid to Pyongyang".
Speculation of a second Trump-Kim summit has ebbed and flowed, with the United States president saying that he hoped it would take place early this year.
The hermit-kingdom despot used his New Year address to stage the intervention.
"North Korea is prepared to strike a move, so it is requesting South Korea to actively convince the United Nations and the U.S. to alleviate or lift sanctions layered upon the state".
But the North Korean leader warned Washington not to "misjudge" his patience and said he may reverse course if there was no sanctions relief.
He spoke warmly of his three 2018 meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and of the rapprochement between the two nations, but he said that progress should be consolidated by ending joint military exercises with the United States.
But nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled in recent months as they struggle with the sequencing of North Korea's disarmament and the removal of USA -led sanctions against the North.
At a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June the two signed a vaguely worded pledge on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
It was not clear what Kim meant by "a new path", but his comments are likely to further fuel scepticism over whether North Korea intends to give up a nuclear weapons programme that it has long considered essential to its security.
Although there were no specifics behind the warning that North Korea may "seek another way" unless the United States makes a move, it's thought it could mean renewed missile testing.
"And I think we're still butting heads against that, as to, how do we get to that point and how do we find a mutually agreed upon path to - in order to justify - having them justify go down that road?" she said.
Seoul and Washington are in a security alliance and the U.S. stations 28,500 troops in the South.
This year, Kim said inter-Korean relations had entered a "completely new phase", and offered to resume key inter-Korean economic projects banned under global and South Korean sanctions, without conditions.