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[PyeongChang 2018] S. Korea 'carefully' mulling timing of offering talks with NK

[PyeongChang 2018] S. Korea 'carefully' mulling timing of offering talks with NK”

Should the talks be held on January 9, it would be the first such dialogue since a vice-ministerial meeting in December 2015.

"(The North) can cope with any kind of nuclear threats from the USA and has a strong nuclear deterrence that is able to prevent the United States from playing with fire", Kim said on Monday.

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.

But the North has not answered a call by the South since it severed the channel in February 2016 in an angry protest against Seoul's shutdown of an inter-Korean industrial complex.

Kim, wearing a Western-style grey suit and tie, said in his customary annual address his country had achieved the historic feat of "completing" its nuclear forces and added he has a nuclear button on his desk.

While this is the first time Kim Jong-un has alluded to having a physical means of launching his country's nuclear weapons in his office - most likely to predetermined targets in the Northeast Asia and the continental United States - the fundamental nuclear command-and-control message from North Korea remains unchanged since 2013.

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"The government will have to strive more to come up with a countermeasure not to get caught in a trap set by Kim Jong Un".

While he remained defiant in his confrontation with Donald Trump, he struck a more conciliatory note on relations with South Korea, offering to start talks on sending a North Korean delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. "And you mentioned both Russian Federation and China and my expectation is that will continue to be the case for them, as well as Iran and North Korea".

Pyongyang claims it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from a hostile USA and sees American military activities in the region - such as the joint drills it takes part in with the South - as a precursor to invasion.

Whether or not Kim Jong-un has a physical button to authorize launch or not, it remains the case that North Korea's nuclear weapons continue to see highly centralized and assertive command and control.

'The Winter Olympic games that will be held soon in the South will be a good opportunity to display the status of the Korean nation and we sincerely wish that the event will be held with good results, ' he said. The U.S. "should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality".

"Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility", Kim said.



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