North Korea is seeking talks with the South regarding the upcoming Winter Olympics in Seoul but still won’t discuss sanctions with the West.
It was in a New Year address from the North Korean capital where Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un warned the United States and other allies that he has a “nuclear button” on his desk that he is ready to use and vowed to continue the mass production of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for deployment in 2018.
But the address from the hermet nation took a different tone in the lead up to the Winter Olympics in the South Korean town of Pyeongchang.
The Dialogue between the two Koreas
Kim Jong-Un has proposed that Seoul and Pyongyang open a dialogue so that North Korean athletes may attend the upcoming games. Two North Koreans managed to qualify for the upcoming games however the country failed to register them for the upcoming games in time for the October 30th deadline.
It is uncertain of when the talks would take place however the move has been encouraged by South Korean President Moon Jae-in who asked his cabinet to find a way to allow North Korean athletes to attend the upcoming games.
South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said South Korea proposed the two nations meet next Tuesday at the border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties.
A Dialogue must include the West
Even with fresh UN Sanctions, the South Korean President has stated that any future talks and potential improvements in North/South relations must go hand in hand with resolving the North’s nuclear ambitions. It is believed that if the South is to go into these negotiations they would seek to end the North’s nuclear programmes in line with what most western countries would want.
Analysts say Mr Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington as a way to ease international isolation and sanctions against North Korea.
It’s unclear how the White House or Downing Street will respond to the olive branch from the North to the South but analysts also believe that it could be a first step towards improving relations.