Kim Jong-un Wants to Send Delegation to Pyeongchang Olympics

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, as part of his pursuit of engagement with the North, has called for North Korea's participation. He said the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics would be a good opportunity to showcase the status of the Korean nation.

The light-grey suit and matching tie North Korea's Kim Jong Un donned for his New Year's address was likely carefully calculated to project a softer, more relaxed image to go with his surprise offer for talks with Seoul, analysts said on Tuesday.

US President Donald Trump has responded to each test with his own amplified declarations, threatening to "totally destroy" Pyongyang and taunting Kim, saying the North Korean leader was on "a suicide mission".

"We achieved the goal of completing our state nuclear force in 2017", Kim said in a speech broadcast live by state TV.

"I regret the government had even lost the flexibility to spend one day or two taking a deep breath and meticulously analysing Kim Jong Un's ulterior motive before hastily issuing a welcoming statement", he said.

Pyongyang claims it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself from a hostile United States and sees American military activities in the region - such as the joint drills it takes part in with the South - as a precursor to invasion.

Cho told a media conference he expects the two Koreas to focus on bringing a North Korean delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which begin next month, should the talks be held on January 9.

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Besides those tests, North Korea also detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear device and fired more than a dozen rockets.

As tensions spiked in the region in recent months, the global community has slapped a range of sanctions on the North aimed at curbing its weapons programme and squeezing the country's leadership.

The minister said communication channels between the two Koreas in Panmunjom should be restored immediately to hold the inter-Korean, inter-governmental talks, suggesting to discuss details on the January 9 dialogue, such as setting agenda and forming delegations through the restored communication channels.

The United States faces a greater threat of nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula than at any previous time, said a former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

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.

Despite those declarations, Kim then called for accelerated production of nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

  • Megan Austin