North Korean leader begins new year with threats against US

Posted January 02, 2018

Moon's comments came after a New Year's Day speech by Kim who said he was "open to dialogue" with Seoul, and for North Korean athletes to possibly take part in the Winter Games, but steadfastly declared North Korea a nuclear power.

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

In his address, he also called for warming relations with South Korea.

Kim also reportedly highlighted the isolated state's economic achievements during the speech, and nodded towards trying to improve the country's standard of living. "The U.S. can never start a war against myself and our nation now".

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Euan Graham, director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute, told CNN the softened tone toward South Korea was a surprise.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday claimed he has a nuclear button installed in his office and is ready to strike at any time.

In an interview on ABC's "This Week", Mullen warned that President Donald Trump's provocative rhetoric aimed at Kim Jong Un likely indicates he would prefer to take a more aggressive approach to countering the rogue regime's rapidly evolving nuclear weapons program.

Analysts said Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington as a way to ease worldwide isolation and sanctions against North Korea.

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South Korea has offered high-level talks with rival North Korea meant to find ways to cooperate on the Winter Olympics set to begin in the South next month.

UNSC Resolution 2375, adopted in September, bans member countries from ship-to-ship transfers of any goods for North Korea. South Korea assessed that the most recent launch in late November of a new ICBM - its largest yet - could potentially reach Washington, though additional analysis was needed to determine whether it was capable of re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. He also revealed South Korea has asked the USA to postpone the joint drills this year.

He called for improved ties and a relaxation of military tensions with South Korea, saying the Winter Olympics could showcase the status of the Korean nation.

"He wants to convince the worldwide community that his nuclear weapons are purely for self-defense and wants to have a negotiated solution with the United States on the basis that he gets to keep its nuclear deterrent capability, Zhao said". He also did not touch on Kim's demand that Seoul cancel its annual joint military exercises with the United States.

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