North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in his recent meetings with Russian, Chinese and U.S. counterparts, called for security guarantees instead of the lifting of sanctions in return for denuclearization, diplomatic sources said Friday.

Kim's renewed focus on security guarantees could be an effort by Pyongyang to break the impasse in denuclearization talks with Washington, as the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump still regards sanctions as necessary until North Korea is completely denuclearized.

Ensuring the continuation of the current political system led by the Kim family is a long-sought goal by North Korea. In a joint statement issued after the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit in June 2018, Trump promised to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, while Kim committed to the "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.