North Korea agrees to talks after US, South Korea postpone military drills


"And after decades of North Korea stalling and ignoring the world community and continuing to develop nuclear and ballistic missiles, we're now literally beginning to see some movement among nations in the region", he added. For instance, North Korea could demand the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a sort of joint venture just north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in which South Korean companies managed production of goods using North Korean labor.

South Korea and the DPRK restored the inter-Korean hotline of direct dialogue in Panmunjom earlier in the day to discuss details on the proposed inter-Korean talks.

Limited near-term South Korean political and economic concessions to North Korea may indeed be possible in order to secure a stable environment for the winter Olympic games, but the tasks of building momentum for longer-term inter-Korean cooperation will prove to be more hard, primarily because Kim's offer is so clearly intended as a tactical appeal rather than as a strategic opening.

South Korea's new, liberal president, Moon Jae-in, has gone along with USA -led efforts in increase sanctions on North Korea, but he insists that on its own, that strategy won't make Kim curb his weapons program.

Despite Moon, who took office in May, being pushed into a hard-line stance by the North's repeated missile and nuclear tests, he would clearly like dialogue.

In an interview with U.S. broadcaster Voice of America, Pence said the president's leadership on the world stage has resulted in "measurable progress", especially on the issue of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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Pyongyang did not say whether it would accept the South Korean offer for talks. Or North Korea could simply ask for subsidies in conjunction with support for the participation of North Korean athletes in the Olympic games as a price for keeping the peace. The communications channel between the two Koreas had been cut off for the past two years. In essence, Kim is asking the United States and South Korea to defer or cancel readiness-enhancing joint military exercises scheduled for 2018 as the price for a peaceful Olympic games.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said China hopes "all sides concerned will seize this positive turn of events".

"I think what is important is to maintain a firm defense posture", he told reporters in Tokyo.

In a New Year's Day speech, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un declared that Pyongyang possessed weapons capable of striking the mainland USA and insisted that the world would have to accept his country as a nuclear-armed state.

Earlier this week, Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington had heard reports that Pyongyang might be preparing to fire another missile. South Korea shares that same goal, she said.

Analysts with the website 38 North, which tracks North Korea, reported Pyongyang may be preparing to test a rocket engine at a facility in Sohae, North Pyongan province, where all of the North's satellite launches have taken place since 2012.