S.Korea offers high-ranking govt talks with N.Korea on January 9

Posted January 02, 2018

"Both the North and the South should make efforts".

"The government proposes to hold high-level government talks with North Korea on January 9 at the Peace House in Panmunjom", Cho said, referring to a truce village in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas.

He said the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang would be a "good opportunity" to present a more united Korean nation.

It is possible officials from the two countries may meet in the near future to discuss the idea, he said, adding that he hoped the event was successful.

South Korea said it welcomed Kim's offer. He also revealed South Korea has asked the U.S. to postpone the joint drills this year.

'The improvement of relations between North and South Korea can not go separately with resolving North Korea's nuclear programme, so the foreign ministry should coordinate closely with allies and the global community regarding this, ' Moon said on Turesday.

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If Kim can make it through 2018 without being annihilated in a war with the USA or somehow forced to relinquish his WMDs, North Korea will likely become a full-fledged nuclear weapons state sometime this year, with all the deterrent capability and geopolitical clout that entails.

"President Moon needs a successful Olympics and the USA drive to increase pressure fits poorly with the Southern agenda".

Park said the presidential office has always stated its readiness to talk with the North anytime, anywhere and in any form if the dialogue is about peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"It's hard to imagine Seoul falling for this", he said, adding that Seoul and Washington had so far stayed in synch in the pressure and isolation campaign.

"We're actually closer in my view to a nuclear war with North Korea and in that region than we've ever been. That's not a basis on which the United States is prepared to engage", he said.

Moon proposed Red Cross and military talks past year, but Pyongyang did not respond.

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Visitors stand near the military wire fence at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 1.

Ship-to-ship trade with North Korea at sea is prohibited under United Nations sanctions adopted September 11.

Kim also reportedly highlighted the isolated state's economic achievements during the speech, and nodded towards trying to improve the country's standard of living. "We need to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment". "The US can never start a war against me and our country".

After a year in which he ordered a string of missile launches - including three intercontinental ballistic missiles - and the regime's sixth and most powerful nuclear test, Kim used his annual New Year's Day address to declare the North's nuclear weapons capability a reality.

Kim's customary New Year's speech is closely watched for indications of the policy direction the unpredictable and reclusive leader is likely to pursue in the coming year.

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