gpolit.com
gpolit.com January 19, 2018


U.S. not budging on demands that North Korea halt nuclear weapons

09 January 2018, 01:48 | Kenneth Drake

On Sunday, North Korea announced a list of five officials who will represent Pyongyang, a day after South Korea confirmed its representatives.

The decision to hold the bilateral meeting came after the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, expressed in his New Year's message a desire for rapprochement with the South and to send a North Korean delegation to participate at the PyeongChang games, which led Seoul and Washington to postpone their annual joint military drill - seen by the North as a rehearsal for invasion - until after the Games.

Seoul responded with an offer of talks, and earlier this week the hotline between the neighbors was restored after being suspended for nearly two years.

Seoul has been keen to proclaim the event in Pyeongchang, just 80km south of the DMZ, a "peace Olympics" in the wake of ICBM and nuclear tests by the North - but it needs the North to attend to make the description meaningful.

The size and membership of the North Korean delegation and their accommodation - widely expected to be paid for by Seoul - will also be discussed.

"The entire process of past North-South relations shows that efforts to improve bilateral ties can come to fruition only when the two sides work together based upon cooperation among Korean people", said the article published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

According to reports, Bach is scheduled to meet Chang Ung, a member of the North Korean Olympic body at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to discuss North Korea's possible participation in the games.

Pyongyang's chief delegate Ri Son Gwon has a similar role as head of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

"We will listen to what North Korea will say".

The two Koreas have been separated by the world's most heavily militarized border since the Korean War ended in a stalemate in 1953. North Korea has not responded to Seoul's offer.

"The two leaders agreed to de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises so that United States and Republic of Korea forces can focus on ensuring the security of the Games", a White House statement said.

The annual joint exercises, dubbed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, ran a year ago throughout March.

Haley said it was her understanding that the two sides were limiting their talks to the Olympics, "but you know, those two countries have to get along".

Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump have exchanged fiery barbs in the previous year and Trump has warned that the United States would have no choice but to "totally destroy" North Korea if forced to defend itself or its allies.



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