Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Trump open to US-NKorea talks 'under right circumstances'

Trump open to US-NKorea talks 'under right circumstances'

Predictably, however, when the floor was turned over for questions, it was North Korea that took center stage as the president's presser came on the heels of a rare high-level face-to-face between the two Koreas.

Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump have exchanged fiery barbs in the past year and Trump has warned that the United States would have no choice but to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.

"Our talks resume after the North and South Korean ties have been severed for a long time, but I believe the first step is half the journey".

North Korea agreed Tuesday to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics to be held in February in South Korea.

North Korea agreed to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in the South next month and the two rivals also made a decision to hold military talks and to restore a military hotline closed since February 2016.

And Seoul called for subsequent military talks, and emphasized the need to negotiate a denuclearization deal to achieve peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday also welcomed North Korean interest in joining the Pyeongchang Games but also reiterated that Pyongyang's nuclear program remains a grave global threat and that the United Nations sanctions imposed on Pyongyang must continue to be strictly implemented.

"The denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula as declared by the two Koreas (in the past) is our fundamental position that can never be compromised", he told a pool of 200 local and foreign journalists.

But Mr Moon ruled this out yesterday, saying Seoul would keep pace with the worldwide community on the issue of sanctions. A pre-emptive USA attack could provoke a devastating retaliation by North Korea against the South, whose capital Seoul lies with the range of North Korean artillery and rockets. Kim quickly accepted Moon's offer.

By giving credit to his USA counterpart, Mr Moon has sent the signal that "South Korea is on the same page as the Trump administration", said Professor Kim. The two leaders additionally "underscored the importance of continuing the maximum pressure campaign against North Korea", according to the White House.

Yesterday's press conference marked Mr Moon's first since his election last May.

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