Crisis in Korea: Seoul proposes talks with Pyongyang from January 9

Home"TO THE ONE"Crisis in Korea: Seoul proposes talks with Pyongyang from January 9
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South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon regards the Winter Olympics as "Peace Olympics". - Photo credits: JUNG YEON-JE / AFP

 

After Kim Jong-un's New Year's speech, which discussed the possibility of his country's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, South Korea reacted to this tense hand by proposing "high-level discussions". With the communist regime, which nonetheless repeats that it is a "nuclear state in its own right".

Seoul accepts the hand extended by the North Korean leader, who has blown hot and cold when he wishes for the new year. South Korea proposed Tuesday to hold high-level talks with Pyongyang on Jan. 9 after the address to Kim Jong-Un nation, which on Monday called for an improvement in bilateral relations and evoked participation in the games. Winter Olympics in South Korea to be held early 2018 in Pyeongchang.

»READ ALSO - North Korea: Kim Jong-un opens the door for PyeongChang

But beside this opening towards the South, the Communist dictator expressed in his New Year's speech renewed firmness in military matters, repeating that his country was a nuclear state in its own right and stating thathe was always at his fingertips the "nuclear button".

 The South wishes to evoke the "denuclearization" of the North

Despite this atomic threat, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon told a press briefing that Seoul "reiterated its willingness to hold talks with the North anytime, anywhere which place and in any form. "We hope that the South and North can sit face to face to discuss North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Games as well as other issues of mutual interest for improving inter-Korean relations," he added.

Since the end of the Korean War (1950-1953), the two rival states have been separated by the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), one of the most heavily armed borders in the world. The latest bilateral talks date back to 2015. South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who has always been in favor of dialogue, welcomed the words of his North Korean counterpart as an opportunity to revive dialogue. He stressed, however, that improving bilateral relations must be accompanied by measures for denuclearization. A word that does not seem to be on the agenda in Pyongyang while Kim Jong-un was very clear when he said on Monday that there was "always a nuclear button on [his] desk".

● The North does not seem to want to trim its military ambitions

"Please quickly propose measures to resume inter-Korean relations and concretize the participation of the North Korean delegation," he told his cabinet. A few months ago, the South Korean president had proposed to dialogue via the Red Cross and the army but Pyongyang had turned a deaf ear.

»READ ALSO - The stages of the rise of the North Korean nuclear program

The North has raised concern in the international community by increasing missile fire and in September carrying out its sixth nuclear test, the most powerful to date. Pyongyang says he needs nuclear weapons to protect himself from Washington's hostility as Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump exchange insults and threats. Pyongyang, seeking to develop a nuclear warhead capable of striking the continental United States, has been hit by multiple UN sanctions trains. But the North shows no sign of wanting to review its military ambitions.

 Winter Olympics 80 km from the border area between the two Korea

The North Korean leader's comments are the first indication of the North's willingness to participate in Winter games, which are held from February 9 to 25. This is, said his South Korean counterpart, a "positive response to our proposal to ensure that the Pyeongchang Olympic Games are a revolutionary opportunity for peace".

The main events of the sports competition will be held just 80 km from the border area between the two Korea. In recent months, growing tensions on the peninsula have overshadowed the sporting event. In his speech on Monday, the North Korean leader felt that the games could provide an opportunity for representatives of both countries to "meet in the near future". Seoul as the organizers would like the North to participate in what they present as "Olympics of peace".

Two North Korean athletes, skating pair Ryom Tae-Ok and Kim Ju-Sik, have qualified for Pyeongchang, but the North Korean Olympic Committee missed the October 30 deadline to confirm their participation with the Union. International Skating Competition. These athletes could nevertheless compete at the invitation of the International Olympic Committee. Pyongyang's participation in sports competitions in the South has always been dependent on the political and military situation on the peninsula. North Korea had boycotted the Seoul Summer Games in 1988. But it had sent its athletes to the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, near Seoul.


Source: ©  Crisis in Korea: Seoul proposes talks with Pyongyang from January 9

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