Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump says 'probably' has a good relationship with North Korea's Kim

Trump says 'probably' has a good relationship with North Korea's Kim

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has vowed to develop nuclear-armed ICBMS that can hit the USA mainland, began the new year boasting that he has a "nuclear button" on his desk.

Pointing to "Trump's inflammatory rhetoric" with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the statement warns the administration has "undercut diplomatic efforts and [increased] the likelihood of stumbling into conflict". I think you people are surprised'. You don't have to look hard here to find people who are sure President Moon Jae-In is falling into a "trap" set by Kim to ensnare him into more or less having to accede to whatever he wants, beginning with the breakup of the U.S. -ROK alliance. The mutual stand-down for the Olympics looks very much like the "freeze for freeze" approach that Russian Federation and China were recommending a year ago, although USA officials resist the characterization. South Korea, in contrast, is already within striking distance of the North's huge conventional, nuclear and suspected chemical and biological arsenal.

This week's diplomatic niceties have nearly certainly reduced the risk of North Korean disruption of the Winter Olympics by cyber attacks or worse.

Asked whether he has spoken with the North Korean leader, Trump told the newspaper: "I don't want to comment on it".

North Korea on Friday called on both the United States and South Korea to suspend bilateral military drills. "It's going to include everything from the size of the visiting group to detailed matters concerning the joint South and North Korea entrance procedures", Sung said.

On Tuesday, North Korea agreed to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in the South and to discuss easing military hostilities.

President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s traded threats of nuclear war have left many on edge
President Trump and Kim Jong Un’s traded threats of nuclear war have left many on edge

"U.S. ICBM tests would be an irritant and a propaganda opportunity for North Korea, but by themselves they should not derail talks or the prospects for reducing tensions", said Joseph Cirincione, president of the San Francisco-based Ploughshares Fund, which seeks to reduce nuclear weapon stockpiles.

But in that same speech, he called for an immediate dialogue with South Korea and said that he was willing to send athletes to the Winter Games. He has a amusing way of saying North Korea has to stop its nuclear program no matter how friendly North and South Korean negotiators seemed at Panmunjeom, and he's called for strengthening South Korea's armed forces.

North Korea, he said, is a big problem.

In part, some analysts suspect South Korea's enthusiasm for diplomacy now is in part to avoid embarrassment or incidents during the Winter Olympics, which they fear might otherwise be disrupted by North Korean terrorism or cyber attacks. However, this gesture would help in strengthening the bond between them and reducing hostilities piled up from past few years.

South Korea and the USA on Thursday discussed on how to develop ties with North Korea, after the former agreed to hold talks for the first time in two years with Seoul, over Pyongyang's participation in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month.

The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang next month have always been overshadowed by geopolitical tensions, with the North repeatedly test-firing missiles it says are capable of reaching the USA mainland, and detonating its most powerful nuclear device to date. Sanctions are effective only to the extent that they are enforced, and this kind of coordinated worldwide action requires real diplomatic acumen - something the Trump administration has yet to demonstrate. -North Korea relations and the challenges and options going forward.

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