Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Korea offers to talk with North on Olympics co-operation

South Korea offers border talks with North Korea South Korea, US working closely for joint response to North Korea: US State Dept. official
Charlie Simmons | 02 January, 2018, 11:17

He also threatened both the United States and the entire world with his remark that "the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office and this is just a reality, not a threat". He also proposed last month that Seoul and Washington postpone annual joint military drills until after the Olympics, and he generally takes a less confrontational approach to relations with the North than his predecessor, Park Geun-hye.

"This year we should focus on mass producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment", Kim added.

As worldwide sanctions against the regime's continuous nuclear and missile provocations take a toll on the North Korean economy, Pyongyang may request the easing of global sanctions, economic cooperation and humanitarian assistance, the institute said in its report analyzing Kim's New Year speech.

"North Korea's participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to show unity of the people and we wish the Games will be a success". While Kim did not halt his nuclear threats, the fact that he hinted at his willingness to improve inter-Korean relations by having North Koreans attend the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was a positive sign.

"I repeat, the government is open to talking with North Korea, regardless of time, location and form".

"An improvement in inter-Korean relations may not go a separate way from (efforts) to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, so I ask the foreign ministry to closely consult with our allies and the global community so that we may push for an improvement in inter-Korean relationship and the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue at the same time", he said.

Rather than encouraging US measures that "threaten the security and peace of the Korean peninsula", Seoul should instead respond to overtures from the North, and "stop nuclear war exercises with foreign forces", Kim said. "The United States can never start a war against me and our country".

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North Korea could send a delegation to the South for the 2018 Winter Olympics, in the first indication Pyongyang may participate in next month's Games despite tensions over its nuclear weapons programme.

North and South Korea have been divided by a demilitarised zone since the end of the 1950-53 Korean war.

But Kim, dressed in a Western-style gray suit and a tie, also offered a potential olive branch to Seoul saying it is imperative to lower military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and improve ties with the South.

Choi suggested sending cruise ships to North Korea's Wonsan port to help the North minimize transportation costs and to use the ships as accommodation in South Korea, said the newspaper.

North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September and launched its most high-tech intercontinental ballistic missile in November, ignoring global condemnation and steadily tightening sanctions. "The chances of the North coming to the Olympics now seem to be more than 80 percent".

"What North Korea is most afraid of is being forgotten in the global arena", he said.

The Winter Olympic main venues are just 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the heavily fortified border with the North and the build-up to the event has been overshadowed by tensions running high over the Pyongyang's escalating nuclear and missile tests.

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