South Korea seeks Winter Olympics cooperation with North to ease military tension

President Moon Jae-in called for swift measures to realize North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games here on Tuesday, one day after the reclusive North Korean leader hinted at a resumption of inter-Korean dialogue to the end.

"These military exercises that you have with our enemy the United States of America must be halted at this very moment, because this behavior only causes fire and destruction on this great country", the North Korean leader said, apparently addressing South Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year's address in Pyongyang on Monday, in this grab from [North] Korean Central Television.

But the North has not answered a call by the South since it severed the channel in February 2016 in an angry protest against Seoul's shutdown of an inter-Korean industrial complex.

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Kim also stressed North Korea's economic achievements during the speech, and noted the importance of improving the nation's standard of living.

"The government will have to strive more to come up with a countermeasure not to get caught in a trap set by Kim Jong Un".

Choi met North Korea's sports official Mun Woong in China on December 18 on the sidelines of a global youth football tournament where North and South Korea soccer teams competed, the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported.

Moon's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

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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. "Those who have been our friends for many years ask questions about our commitments to them.and our enemies, those that would do us ill, seem to be able to take advantage of the uncertainty".

His comments come after a former top U.S. military officer warned that the United States is now closer than it has ever been to a nuclear war with the North, with little hope of a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Kim said in a New Year's Day speech on Monday he would consider sending a delegation to the Olympics.

Kim appeared to extend an olive branch to Seoul in his address to the nation today, saying the Olympics would "serve as a good chance to display our Korean people's grace toward the world and we sincerely hope the Games will be a success".

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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. "We need to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment".


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