Pyongyang Accepts Seoul's Offer of High-Level Talks Next Week

Mitch Lerner

On Friday morning, North Korea sent a message saying it would accept South Korea's offer to meet at the border village of Panmunjom.

"What is important for the South is not to play into the hands of the North".

China, meanwhile, announced that it was tightening restrictions on trade with North Korea under United Nations nuclear sanctions, imposing a cap on oil supplies to the North and banning imports of its steel and other goods.

North and South Korea have agreed on the composition of the delegations which will participate in the first high-level meeting on Tuesday between the two countries after over two years, the Unification Ministry said here on Sunday. "He understands that. At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and very good solution, we're working on it. with a lot of people".

The United States should immediately tell North Korea and China of its intentions to aggressively arm South Korea and Japan with a full and complete nuclear arsenal in the biggest and strongest possible way if North Korea does not immediately totally stop with its nuclear program.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un opened the way for talks with South Korea in his New Year's Day speech, calling for reduced tensions on the Korean peninsula.

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When talks enter a stage of dealing with more serious issues such as economic, humanitarian or military matters, the South must be prudent and cautious.

The abrupt decision by South Korea and the USA to delay their joint military exercises - to which North Korea has long objected - until after the Pyeongchang Olympics is also improving the prospects for talks.

Unable to cross into South Korea by land, majority of the defectors choose to cross the Amnok or Tumen rivers to reach China and from there to a third country - mainly Thailand and Mongolia - where they ask for asylum at South Korean embassies and consulates, something they can not do in Beijing. 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.

Since North Korea is not a direct threat to China, China has only recently imposed any meaningful pressure on North Korea to stop the North Korean nuclear development, but not enough.

The agreement came during a phone conversation between President Moon Jae-in and his American counterpart Donald Trump late Thursday night, Korea time. "The two leaders agreed to postpone the South Korea-U.S. joint military exercises to let the combined forces focus on ensuring the security of the Olympic Games". It ought to keep a close consultation with the USA to send a united message. "The tweet follows the North Korean leader's remarks in a New Year's Day address that "(t) he entire mainland of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear weapons".


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