As Koreas agree to talk, China ups pressure on the North

Officials from both sides met to discuss North Korea sending a performance art group to the Winter Olympics

Speaking to Fox Business about President Trump's tweets about Kim Jong-un, he said: "Well it was so unconventional that I must say it jolted me". During his New Year's address on January 1, Kim described the Pyeongchang Olympics as a great event for the Korean nation and hinted that he would be willing to send a North Korean delegation to the Olympic Games and to participate in inter-Korean talks to make that a reality.

Pompeo said he still believed, as he had said in October, that North Korea is just a few months away from crossing the threshold to putting a United States city at risk of nuclear attack.

US President Donald Trump endorsed the talks Thursday, calling them a "good thing" while agreeing to delay military exercises until after the event. Since North Korea has demanded the repatriation of the 12 North Korean women who were part of a group defection from the city of Ningbo in China's Zhejiang Province in April 2016 as the prerequisite for reunions for the divided families, it's unclear whether Red Cross talks can be held.

North Korea restored a telephone hotline at their mutual border, enabling first contact about talks to be made, and now face-to-face discussions should take place next week.

In the end, Haley said, the world has come to "respect" President Trump's "unpredictability" as it has forced hostile opposing countries, namely North Korea and Iran, to stay tuned to his positions posted via Twitter. And North Korea has no military reason to stop its nuclear program. North Korea agreed to that date on Friday.

As Koreas agree to talk, China ups pressure on the North
As Koreas agree to talk, China ups pressure on the North

"This decrease in arrivals is extremely concerning because it's not that life became that much better in North Korea, it is because the Chinese authorities, while signing up for increased sanctions on the North Korean economy, also stepped up their crackdowns on North Korean refugees", said Sokeel Park of Liberty in North Korea, which helps defectors reach the South. Some are suggesting that South Korean support to cover the costs would violate the framework of UN Security Council resolutions and other global sanctions against the North.

The annual military exercises being delayed, known as Foal Eagle/Key Resolve are among the most significant conducted by the two countries, and involve more than 20,000 US and South Korean troops along with representatives from several other nations. In 2016 they ran from March 7-April 30. If the same dates were to apply this year, that would mean the drills would overlap with the Paralympics but not the Olympic Games themselves.

The Pentagon indicated the exercises would be postponed, not canceled.

The Central Intelligence Agency head also rejected a New York Times article on Sunday that reported United States intelligence agencies had been unable to foresee the North's rapid nuclear strides over the past several months.

Moon has long advocated engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, while the U.S. has insisted that it first take concrete steps towards disarmament. "Remember, we're doing this at the host country's invitation".



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