Kim Jong-un and I probably have great relationship, says Trump

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un have until now repeatedly traded threats of war and personal insults, with Kim sparking yet more verbal clashes with Washington after warning in his New Year speech he had a "nuclear button on my desk".

At Tuesday's talks, North Korea said it would attend the Winter Olympics in the South next month, and both sides agreed to resolve problems through dialogue and revive military consultations to avoid accidental conflict.

According to Reuters, Ri Son Gwon, head of North Korea's delegation at the inter-Korean talks, reportedly said that "North Korea's weapons are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, China or Russian Federation", and that its nuclear program was not an issue between the two countries.

The prospect of military confrontation has been magnified in the past year as Trump and Kim have traded bellicose rhetoric and crude insults, as the North has conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear detonation and three tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that now put the USA mainland in North Korea's range.

He welcomed them, but warned that his country would continue to work with the global community to apply pressure on the North to give up nuclear weapons. Those two nations, and in particular, China are key players in the region with influence on North Korea.

Officials from North and South Korea will meet at the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) headquarters on 20 January to hammer out the details of the North's participation at February's Winter Games, the IOC said Wednesday.

The talks were held at the border village of Panmunjom or "truce village", in the Korean Peninsula's heavily fortified demilitarised zone DMZ.

Trump addressed the fiery and furious tone of his tweets that were aimed at North Korea during the first year of his administration, and said that it was how he created friendlier ties with people.

Early in the peace process, Trump criticized Moon for appeasing Kim, who as North Korea's dictator has sustained a brutal regime. "I have relationships with people". Yonhap reported that Moon's chief press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, said Trump also offered assurance that military force would not happen while the two Koreas continue to talk.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry had indicated it would consider lifting some sanctions temporarily to facilitate the North's attendance in the Games, to be held from Feb 9 to 25 in the alpine county of Pyeongchang.

Trump discussed North Korea in a call Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron of France. For North Korean residents, the source said, this statement amounted to attendance by North Korea at the Olympics as a "foregone conclusion".

Vanessa Coleman

Comments