Sunday 16 December 2018

Trump eyes potential talks between North Korea, South Korea

US President Donald Trump. Photo: PA
US President Donald Trump. Photo: PA Newsdesk Newsdesk

US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said possible talks between North Korea and South Korea held mixed potential, while sanctions were beginning to take a toll on Pyongyang amid tensions over its nuclear and missile programs.

"Sanctions and 'other' pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea," Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

"Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not - we will see!" Trump added in reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

His comments follow South Korea offering high-level talks with rival North Korea to find ways to co-operate on next month's Winter Olympics in the South.

Seoul's quick proposal after a rare rapprochement overture from Pyongyang a day earlier offers the possibility of better ties after a year which saw a nuclear stand-off increase fear of war on the Korean Peninsula.

In a closely watched New Year address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Monday he is willing to send a delegation to the Olympics, though he also repeated nuclear threats against the United States.

Analysts said 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.

Kim's overture was welcome news for the South Korean government led by liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favours dialogue to ease the North's nuclear threats and wants to use the Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties.

With additional reporting by the Press Association


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