Tuesday, 16 January, 2018

US Ambassador Haley: N. Korea's Nuclear Threat Remains 'Very Dangerous'

Six-party reps agree to seize chance for peace with North Korea Seoul to announce measures on 'defective' sex slavery deal
Faye Gross | 09 January, 2018, 00:38

She said that if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were to launch a nuclear attack on the United States, "It is not going to be us [The United States] that is destroyed".

But on Thursday, Trump called the new talks "a good thing" and said they had been prompted by his "firm, strong" stance, which has included harsher global sanctions and threats of military intervention if the North does not give up its weapons program.

High-level officials from the two Koreas are slated to talk Tuesday about North Korea's possible participation in the Winter Olympics next month in South Korea, but it's uncertain whether longer-term relations between the two countries will be discussed.

She is expected to focus mostly on measures the South Korean government plans to take to provide additional support for the comfort women, and will not push to scrap or renegotiate the controversial agreement.

Tuesday's talks are scheduled to take place at the truce village of Panmunjom in the heavily fortified demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas.

According to Haley, combating North Korea's one-sided bargaining tactics will be the first step in achieving any progress. He also said he would "absolutely" be willing to talk on the phone to Kim. "Considering that a variety of channels will be necessary if we assume that the Unification Ministry will be taking the lead in inter-Korean talks moving forward, I think they took the right approach to appointing people [to the negotiating teams]", said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute.

South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will discuss issues of mutual concern, including military and humanitarian issues which South Korea raised past year, during the upcoming high-level talks, Seoul's Unification Ministry said Monday. It's not my understanding that they're going to talk about anything further. As the vice minister of the government department responsible for the Pyeongchang Olympics, Roh will be capable of discussing various matters related to North Korea's participation in the Olympics.

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Trump, in a Twitter comment, retorted, "Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

Trump said "if something can happen and something can come out of those talks that would be a great thing for all of humanity".

Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon has said his delegation has been preparing to discuss resuming reunions of family members separated by the Korean War.

North Korea's participation in PyeongChang and a rapprochement between the two Koreas could contribute to easing the peninsular tensions that were raised throughout 2017 by Pyongyang's regular ballistic weapons tests and US President Donald Trump's belligerent rhetoric.

Moon also hopes that better inter-Korean relations will pave the way for the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and for broader talks between the United States and the North.

Pyongyang's chief delegate Ri Son-Gwon has a similar role as head of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

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