Kim Jong-un Wants to Send Delegation to Pyeongchang Olympics

Lena Tucker
January 2, 2018

North Korea's leader has used his New Year message to warn the United States that he has a "nuclear button" on his desk - which is always in reach. "He's developing nukes while trying to weaken global pressure and the South Korea-U.S. military alliance and get worldwide sanctions lifted", said Shin Beomchul of the Seoul-based Korea National Diplomatic Academy. In the meantime, North Korea is also believed to be developing biological weapons and submarine-based missiles and honing its skills at cyber warfare (the US recently accused the regime of being behind the global WannaCry ransomware attack last May).

Kim's comments on Monday were the first indication of North Korea's willingness to participate in the Winter Games, which run from February 9 to 25.

The New York Times also reported that Kim's words are merely aimed at alleviating global sanctions and brewing discord between South Korea and the U.S. South Korea and the U.S. share one goal of denuclearizing Pyongyang, . but have different ideas on how to achieve it. President Moon Jae-in wants talks and negotiations, . while U.S. President Donald Trump continues to emphasize sanctions and pressure.

"The government proposes to hold high-level government talks with North Korea on January 9 at the Peace House in Panmunjom", Cho said, referring to a truce village in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas.

Even so, Trump has also floated the idea of friendship with Kim on occasion, and has called on him to "make a deal" on North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Kim's remarks at the annual event come amid already high tensions with the Washington over its missile and nuclear tests throughout the year.

Expressing hope for a "peaceful resolution" to the longstanding cold war on the peninsula, Kim said the the two countries should "work together as a people of the same heritage to find peace and stability", and offered to begin talks with Seoul "as soon as possible" about sending a North Korean delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. "The South's dilemma is whether we can accept that", Koh said.

"The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table", he said, according to the Associated Press translation, in a speech carried by state television.

Kim said that rather than encouraging USA measures that "threaten the security and peace of the Korean peninsula", Seoul should instead respond to overtures from the North, and "stop nuclear war exercises with foreign forces". "We truly wish the South a successful Olympics", Kim said in his address.

About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from the North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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