North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is believed to still be angling for a nuclear deal with U.S. President Donald Trump, experts say, but there are growing signs that the young dictator is preparing to slap his own version of "maximum pressure" on the American president if things don't go his way.

In one of the clearest indications of these preparations, senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, who previously led the negotiations with the U.S., said in a statement Tuesday that nuclear talks would not resume "before the complete and irrevocable withdrawal" of what Pyongyang calls the United States' "hostile policy" toward the North.

His choice of words were as stark as they were mocking.