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

Koreans watch North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's address in Seoul on Jan. 1 2018. Lee Jin-man  AP
Koreans watch North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's address in Seoul on Jan. 1 2018. Lee Jin-man AP
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02 January, 2018

South Korea's presidential office welcomed Kim's olive branch, saying that Seoul is open to talks with the North "at any time, in any place and in any format".

All of inter-Korean communication channels have been severed since the previous South Korean government under impeached President Park Geun-hye decided unilaterally to close down the Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to the DPRK's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

Kim also stressed North Korea's economic achievements during the speech, and noted the importance of improving the nation's standard of living.

Departing from his usual black or navy suits, Kim gave his televised speech wearing black-rimmed glasses and slicked back hair, speaking fluently and rarely looking down to read as he raised the possibility of sending a delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Mullen's warning comes as tensions continue to increase between North Korea and the worldwide community.

The governor did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment. "Those who have been our friends for many years ask questions about our commitments to them.and our enemies, those that would do us ill, seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty". Last year, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles as part of its push to possess a nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States.

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An official from South Korea's Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the 5,100-ton KOTI was being held at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port on the country's west coast.

'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.

Possible inter-Korean talks could provide a temporary thaw in strained inter-Korean ties, but could also weaken USA -led worldwide pressure on the North.

But Park did not refer to Kim's order to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, as well as speeding up their deployment.

Kim also said he was open to dialogue with Seoul, prompting South Korea on Tuesday to propose high-level talks between the two countries on January 9 at the border truce village of Panmunjeom.


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