SEOUL--Kim Jong Un will press Washington to recognize North Korea as a nuclear power, lift economic sanctions and conclude a peace treaty before Pyongyang takes steps to denuclearize, a former North Korean diplomat said.

Thae Yong Ho, a former minister at the North Korean Embassy in Britain who defected to Seoul in 2016, said the North Korean leader’s televised speech on New Year’s Day shows that he plans to turn the bilateral talks with the United States into nuclear disarmament negotiations.

Given the different expectations between the two countries over such talks, Thae predicts little progress will be made this year toward a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Thae gave his take on Kim’s speech in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun on Jan. 1.

Kim said in his speech that North Korea will “establish new relations (with the United States), build a permanent and strong peace system on the Korean Peninsula and go forward to complete denuclearization.”

Thae said that part of Kim’s address is based on the historic U.S.-North Korea summit in June last year in Singapore.

“What Kim is intending is that denuclearization presupposes an easing of U.S. sanctions and concluding a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War,” he said.

Thae also said that during the next U.S.-North Korea summit, Kim will call on Trump to reaffirm the joint statement the two leaders released after their first talks.

The United States, on the other hand, will push Pyongyang to denuclearize first because Trump “appears to understand that the first summit meeting did not go well,” Thae said.

In fact, a second summit is “less likely to take place in the near future due to differences in the expectations they hold for the meeting,” he said.

Instead, Kim will likely pursue talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping this year, Thae said.

In addition, Kim will strive to create a favorable environment for Pyongyang in possible negotiations on a peace treaty, in which he will try to ensure that the United States and China will attend along with both Koreas.

Thae also predicted that the continued stalemate between Washington and Pyongyang means that no major progress will be made in Japan-North Korea relations.

He said Pyongyang is now less tempted to resume talks with Tokyo on the issue of Japanese abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s. Tokyo wants answers about the unaccounted-for Japanese abductees before it agrees to normalize diplomatic relations with Pyongyang.

“North Korea knows it can receive $10 billion (1.1 trillion yen)” in financial assistance from Japan if the issue is resolved, Thae said. “But North Korea also understands that it won’t have access to the money as long as U.S. sanctions are imposed against it.”