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S. Korea proposes high-level dialogue with DPRK on January 9

02 January 2018

After the Olympics, inter-Korean ties could become frosty again because North Korea has made it clear that it has no intention of accepting worldwide calls for nuclear disarmament and instead wants to bolster its weapons arsenal in the face of what it calls increasing US threats.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivers a New Year's address in Pyongyang on Monday, in this grab from [North] Korean Central Television.

Cho anticipated that the two Koreas would frankly discuss issues of mutual concern to improve inter-Korean relations as well as the issue on the DPRK's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang in February.

After a year dominated by fiery rhetoric and escalating tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme, the North Korean leader declared his country "a peace-loving and responsible nuclear power" and call for lower military tensions and improved ties with the South.

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The New Year's address is an annual event in the North and is watched closely for indications of the direction and priorities Kim may adopt in the year ahead.

Kim's comments on South Korea surprised analysts, who described them as the most significant part of his speech. "South Korean relations, and seems created to drive a wedge there", said Douglas Paal, a former senior USA diplomat who heads the Asia program at Washington's Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "We need to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment". That year, the Supreme People's Assembly promulgated an ordinance on North Korea's position as a "nuclear weapons state".

North Korea has come under heavy sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council as it has accelerated efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. "The US can never start a war against me and our country". South Korea assessed that the most recent launch in late November of a new ICBM - its largest yet - could potentially reach Washington, though additional analysis was needed to determine whether it was capable of re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.

Park said the presidential office has always stated its readiness to talk with the North anytime, anywhere and in any form if the dialogue is about peace on the Korean Peninsula. He said North Korea's nuclear deterrent was "irreversible" and that it would prevent Trump from starting a war.

S. Korea proposes high-level dialogue with DPRK on January 9