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NORTH KOREAN dynastic leader Kim Jong Un proffered an olive branch to South Korea today, saying he was “open to dialogue” and floating the possibility of sending a winter Olympic games team there.
“When it comes to North-South relations, we should lower the military tensions on the Korean peninsula to create a peaceful environment. Both the North and the South should make efforts,” he said.
“North Korea’s participation in the winter games will be a good opportunity to showcase national pride and we wish success to the games. Officials from the two Koreas may meet urgently to discuss the possibility,” Mr Kim added.
A South Korean presidential spokesman welcomed his offer to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang games.
“We have always stated our willingness to talk with North Korea any time and anywhere if that would help restore inter-Korean relations and lead to peace on the Korean peninsula,” he declared. “We hope the two Koreas will sit down and find a solution to lower tensions.”
Pyeongchang organising committee president Lee Hee Beom also welcomed Pyongyang’s position, pledging to “discuss relevant matters with the South Korean government as well as the International Olympic Committee.”
South Korean President Moon Jae In has said that North Korea’s participation will ensure safety for the Pyeongchang games. He proposed last month that Seoul and Washington postpone until after the Olympics this year’s provocative annual war games, which the North denounces as a rehearsal for invasion.
Mr Kim also used his televised New Year’s Day speech to declare North Korea “a peace-loving and responsible nuclear power” but reminding US President Donald Trump that he kept the nuclear button on his desk.
He announced that North Korea would focus on “mass-producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment” in the coming year, making it impossible for the US to start a war against his country.
“The whole territory of the US is within the range of our nuclear strike and … this is just a reality, not a threat,” he said, maintaining that North Korea would only use the weapons if threatened.
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