South Korean leader insists North must denuclearize

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Moon reportedly thanked Trump for his "influential leadership in making the talks possible" and both leaders expressed support for Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against North Korea, which has seen heightened military threats and a chain of nuclear threats flying both ways across the Pacific.

"In the midst of intense international isolation, they see South Korea as representing their greatest chance of escape, so they are willing to forego demands related to the military or Kaesong and focus squarely on smooth cooperation over the Olympics", Cho continued. If the attack goes according to plan, the US could deny North Korea the ability to research and develop its missile or nuclear programs by destroying elements of it with a kinetic strike.

North Korean athletes will attend next month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, officials said on Tuesday, a small breakthrough after months of rising tensions between the two countries over Pyongyang's nuclear program.

And North Korean cheerleaders, as well as government officials and others, will travel to the South along with the Olympic athletes.

Asked whether he has spoken with the North Korean leader, Trump told the newspaper: "I don't want to comment on it. I'm not saying I have or haven't".

President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae In had a phone call where they discussed recent talks between the two Koreas, but a major discrepancy exists between the US and South Korea's account of the call.

"We have certainly problems with North Korea", Trump said at a news conference.

The U.S. retains 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War that ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the adversaries in a state of war for the past six decades.

Trump also told Moon that Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence will lead the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics, scheduled for Feb. 9-25 in Pyeongchang. Chun first gained prominence in South Korea in 1983 as a young lieutenant when he was credited with saving the life of a senior South Korean general during a terrorist bombing in Burma.

US military drills in Korea
GETTY PRIMED AND READY The US has already deployed warplanes to the peninsula

North Korea agreed to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea and to hold military talks aimed at easing front-line animosities.

"It's still very early in this process, and we have to see how much momentum it acquires, but so far this year is definitely getting off to a very different start", he said.

"If I were them, I would try", he said.

Another sticking point is the North's inclusion in its delegation of officials placed on blacklists by the U.N. Security Council or South Korea's unilateral sanctions.

"To have a summit, some conditions must be established", he said. Last year, Kim and President Donald Trump exchanged bellicose rhetoric and crude insults as conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and three tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that put the U.S. within its range.

Observers underlined the need to strike a balance between inter-Korean talks on the Olympics and cooperation with the international community on the sanctions regime.

"Hopefully, it will lead to success for the world, not just for our country, but for the world".

They also warned that the government should not risk losing long-held global coordination that could be critical when things turn sour again after the sporting event.

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