Unified Korean ice hockey team proposed for Winter Olympics

Kim Kyung Hoon  Reuters
Kim and Ryom at the Asian Winter Games in February 2017

Kim Kyung Hoon Reuters Kim and Ryom at the Asian Winter Games in February 2017

United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he is open to direct talks with North Korea over its nuclear program.

U.S. President Donald Trump told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae In on Wednesday that the United States will not take any military action against North Korea so long as inter-Korean dialogue continues, according to the South Korean presidential office.

Moon said North Korea will face harsher worldwide sanctions and pressure if it resorts to fresh provocations, adding that "denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is path to peace and our goal".

South Korea accepted the olive branch extended by the North Korean regime this week, following up on Kim Jong-un's New Year speech and its suggestion that his country might participate in the Winter Olympics.

The Kremlin strongman congratulated the North Korean dictator, saying he had won the latest stand-off with the US and South Korea.

Putin's comments come after the two Koreas held talks on January 9 in an effort to ease tensions ahead of the Winter Olympics scheduled for February 9-25 in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

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A senior administration official, asked if Trump has spoken to or contacted Kim, told CNN: "That's not something we would discuss but we are not aware this contact has occurred". "The joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises destroy peace, brings all kinds of misfortunes to our [unitary] people".

The U.S. has suggested it remains committed to the idea of resuming dialogue with the North, provided they address denuclearization and follow a sustained period of missile-free activity.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "an absolutely competent and already mature politician" who has solved the strategic task through creating a nuclear device and long-range missiles.

Chief North Korean Delegate Ri Son Gwon stated that North Korea's nuclear weapons are "not targeted at our "compatriots", " but at the United States".

"I think it's the main goal of this meeting", said Shin Maeng-ho, South Korea's Ambassador to Canada, who is attending the meeting. Those two nations, and in particular, China are key players in the region with influence on North Korea.

It's unclear whether there will be discussions in Vancouver on the "first strike" option, which would see the USA and possibly other nations launch pre-emptive attacks on North Korea's missile facilities.

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