Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Trump on North Korea: 'I always believe in talking'

Trump on North Korea: 'I always believe in talking'

The North's moves for talks with the South are welcome and significant, considering the escalated war risk on the Korean Peninsula triggered by its nuclear and missile programs.

North Korea asked for further negotiations about the meeting to be carried out via documented exchanges, Baik said.

In his New Year's address, Mr Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness to dispatch a North Korean delegation to South Korea's alpine town of Pyeongchang and hoped for the success of the sporting event.

The U.S. described the move to put off its annual drill with South Korea as an effort to "de-conflict" the military exercise and the Winter Games, allowing Moon to "focus on ensuring the security" of the Olympics, due to start February 9.

US President Donald Trump is yet to formally respond to the announcement of formal talks, but took to Twitter to say the scheduled talks were "a good thing".

The abrupt decision by South Korea and the United States to delay their joint military exercises - to which North Korea has long objected - until after the Pyeongchang Olympics is also improving the prospects for talks.

"A lot of people have said, a lot of people have written, that without my rhetoric, without my tough stance - and it's not just a stance, I mean, this is what has to be done, if it has to be done - that they wouldn't be talking about Olympics, they wouldn't be talking right now", he said.

The politician pointed out that it is still unclear whether North Korea has the full nuclear arsenal it claims to have.

"Sure, I believe in talking", he said.

A Japanese government spokesman said Japan would do what's necessary to keep up the pressure on Pyongyang to give up its weapons programs.

China, meanwhile, announced that it was tightening restrictions on trade with North Korea under United Nations nuclear sanctions, imposing a cap on oil supplies to the North and banning imports of its steel and other goods.

If defectors are found in China they are forcibly repatriated to North Korea.

"I think what is important is to maintain a firm defense posture", he told reporters.

The vast majority of defectors from the impoverished North, which suffers chronic food shortages and is subject to UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, go first to China.

Analysts with the website 38 North, which tracks North Korea, reported Pyongyang may be preparing to test a rocket engine at a facility in Sohae, North Pyongan province, where all of the North's satellite launches have taken place since 2012.

In his New Year speech, Kim said the country had completed its nuclear deterrent - Pyongyang says it needs to defend itself against a USA invasions - and he had a "nuclear button on my desk".

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