Seoul: North Korea to ship delegation to Olympics in South


President Trump expressed unusual optimism about talks between North and South Korea, citing "good energy" after initial discussions produced agreement that North Korea will send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month. Trump also again indicated he's open to direct U.S. talks with North Korea under the right circumstances.

Speaking later Wednesday, Trump claimed his administration's pressure campaign had prompted the North Koreans to negotiate with the South, and recounted Moon as telling him the initial meeting was "extremely good".

"A few months ago officials in Pyongyang directed us (a North Korean trading company in China) to secure equipment needed for bread and snack manufacturing, but it was all blocked from entering the North by Chinese customs in Dandong".

North Korea, which agreed to send a delegation to February's Winter Olympics in South Korea, did not immediately respond to the joint march proposal.

"Vice President Pence is likely visiting there to show off US missile defense capabilities in the face of emerging DPRK ICBM capabilities".

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he "probably" has a very good relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a change in tone for Trump after exchanging insults with Kim over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs.

Koh Yu-hwan is a North Korea expert at Dongguk University in Seoul.

Sogang University worldwide relations professor Kim Jae Chun told The Straits Times: "Many people worry that the Moon Jae In government will fall into the trap North Korea set up, so it is important to emphasise that denuclearisation is something he can't give up". It announced it had postponed its joint military exercises with the USA, an annual event that North Korea believes encroaches on their sovereignty, earlier this month. Yonhap reported that Moon's chief press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, said Trump also offered assurance that military force would not happen while the two Koreas continue to talk.

Trump stunned the United Nations in August by vowing that North Korea would be met by "fire and fury" if it threatened the USA or its allies.

"You'll see that a lot with me", Trump said of his belligerent remarks towards the North Korean leader, but added "then all of a sudden somebody's my best friend".

"Traders are experiencing an indiscriminate blockade by China of items that North Korea feels are needed to improve their industry, so naturally they are becoming interested in improving relations with South Korea (as a potential replacement)", a separate source in China said. If the attack goes according to plan, the U.S. could deny North Korea the ability to research and develop its missile or nuclear programs by destroying elements of it with a kinetic strike.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry had indicated it would consider lifting some sanctions temporarily to facilitate the North's attendance in the Games, to be held from Feb 9 to 25 in the alpine county of Pyeongchang.