North, South Korea to meet for talks Tuesday

Posted January 06, 2018

North Korea accepted a proposal to hold talks with South Korea on Tuesday, reducing tensions as President Moon Jae-in's government prepared to host the Winter Olympics next month.

In a New Year's Day speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that Pyongyang possessed weapons capable of striking the mainland USA and insisted that the world would have to accept his country as a nuclear-armed state.

Reuters reported that it was active Wednesday, with officials from the North placing a call to the South.

The meeting, the first since December 2015, is to take place in Panmunjom, the truce village in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its two key Asia allies, Japan and South Korea, and says its weapons are necessary to counter USA aggression.

The rival Koreas are seeking to improve their strained ties after a period of rising tension over the North's push to expand its nuclear and missile arsenals, but the USA and its allies are making it clear that while the military drills are on hold, pressure on North Korea won't let up.

"They can talk with whoever they want", she said about North Korea, but made the U.S. requirements clear.

North Korea also has expressed interest in sending a delegation to participate in the Olympics. Foal Eagle is a series of exercises created to test the readiness of the US and South Korean militaries.

FILE PHOTO: North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a New Year's Day speech in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on January 1, 2018. Last year, he ridiculed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for talking about negotiations with the North.

Earlier this week, Trump seemed open to the possibility of an inter-Korean dialogue after Kim made a rare overture toward South Korea in a New Year's address.

Trump tweeted on Thursday, "Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn't firm, strong and willing to commit our total "might" against the North".

It was a response to Kim's New Year's speech in which the young leader warned the United States that he has a nuclear button on his desk at all times.

Mr Trump took credit for brokering the talks on Twitter, however.

The move comes after US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said there is evidence that North Korea is testing yet another nuclear weapon, once again in violation of UN sanctions.