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Korea offers to talk with North on Olympics co-operation

Korea offers to talk with North on Olympics co-operation

"The United States should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table", he said during the nationally televised speech, according to a provisional translation by The Associated Press. Analysts say Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington as a way to ease worldwide isolation and sanctions against North Korea.

In his New Year's address on January 1, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un voiced his willingness to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and to hold inter-Korean talks to achieve that end.

Kim called on North Korea to accelerate its production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, CNN reported.

North Korea may demand a price for its participation in the Winter Olympics next month, a South Korean think tank said Monday.

Inter-Korean talks need to begin so that the North can attend Pyeongchang Now that North Korea has hinted at a meeting between officials to discuss the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the South Korean government must strive for working-level deliberations to swiftly take place.

"It is quite noteworthy that the North's leader himself says the North is willing to participate in Pyeongchang", Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul told AFP.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has proposed that Seoul and Washington postpone annual joint military drills until after the Olympics, The Post noted. "Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility", Kim said.

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"We offered military talks in July and our offer still stands".

This also corresponds with Moon's ambition for South Korea to take the driver's seat on the Korean Peninsula. "These weapons will be used only if our security is threatened".

John Delury, a professor of worldwide relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, said Kim's message to Seoul was "more promising" than he had anticipated, addressing in a specific and actionable way South Korea's desire to make the Games a success.

North Korea tested intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September in defiance of worldwide warnings and sanctions, raising fears of a new conflict on the Korean peninsula.

When asked about North Korea's nuclear claims on Sunday night, Trump said only, "We'll see, we'll see".

The venues for the Games lie just 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the tense border with the North and the build-up to the event has been overshadowed by tensions running high over the North's escalating nuclear and missile tests. "But North Korea is likely to send athletes to figure skating, short track skating, cross country and women's ice hockey". We welcome the fact that North Korea strongly hinted at its willingness to improve inter-Korean relations in the New Year.

"I'm still very skeptical of the "complete" thing they've been talking about, if only because we've seen so much activity in regards to the submarine launched ballistic missile programme", he said.


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