North, South Korea to meet for talks Tuesday

05 January, 2018, 14:25 | Author: Kim Reid

Trump, who has exchanged a series of threats and insults with the Pyongyang regime since previous year, tweeted late Tuesday that he, too, has a "nuclear button" that is "much bigger and more powerful" than the one North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has.

Moon and Trump had a telephone conversation for about 30 minutes earlier in the day, discussing issues of mutual concern relating to the possible inter-Korean talks created by taking the opportunity for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, according to the Blue House, the presidential palace.

Then, after most Americans headed to bed on Tuesday, with many wondering if the president might drag us into war via tweet, we learned of a major shift in relations between the two Koreas.

North and South Korea yesterday reopened a cross-border hotline that had been shut down since 2016, forging ahead with peace overtures despite taunts from US President Donald Trump, who said he has a "much bigger" nuclear button than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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China's Commerce Ministry said it would limit exports of crude oil, refined oil products, steel and other metals to North Korea, in line with tough new sanctions imposed by the United Nations. They said they were awaiting a possible second call from the North, which may pave the way for official talks in the coming days.

Kim said he has a "nuclear button" on his office desk and warned that "the whole territory of the U.S.is within the range of our nuclear strike". Park was responding to Kim launching a satellite into space and claiming to have tested a hydrogen bomb. In this context, any diplomatic progress may come as a relief, but Kim's motives remain unclear.

South Korea's liberal President Moon Jae-in has supported Trump's pressure campaign against North Korea, but he's less confrontational than the USA president and favors dialogue to ease the North's nuclear threats.

US Department of State spokesman Heather Nauert also said that Kim "may be trying to drive a wedge of some sort between the two nations - between our nation and [South Korea]". He may think that if he improves relations with his neighbor, Seoul with push the USA toward détente. At the very least, pretending that it wants to negotiate a peaceful resolution may give the North time to flawless its missiles and become an official nuclear-weapons state.

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In proposing "sincere efforts for a détente", Kim urged the Moon administration to "discontinue all the nuclear war drills they stage with outside forces", a clear reference to annual U.S. -ROK military exercises conducted in both March and August.

The clear objective of Kim's dialogue offer to Moon Jae-in is to test South Korean willingness to trade short-term South Korean interests in peace and stability around next month's Olympics for longer-term economic and security concessions.

Still, some suggested that reestablishing contact between the two Koreas is a step in the right direction, for all involved.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the US would keep "maximum pressure" on North Korea to give up its nukes.

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