S.Korea offers high-ranking govt talks with N.Korea on January 9

South Koreans watch a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's New Year's speech at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul South Korea Monday Jan. 1 2018. The letters read on top left

The tensions around North Korea's missile and nuclear weapons program persist due to the repeated nuclear tests and missile launches carried out by Pyongyang in violation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

"The entire mainland of the United States is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office".

North Korea had achieved its goal of becoming a nuclear state.

It also comes after South Korean President Moon Jae-in said improvement of inter-Korean relations was linked to resolving the North's nuclear programme.

"An improvement in inter-Korean relations may not go a separate way from (efforts) to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, so I ask the foreign ministry to closely consult with our allies and the global community so that we may push for an improvement in inter-Korean relationship and the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue at the same time", he said.

Moon's comments came after a New Year's Day speech by Kim who said he was "open to dialogue" with Seoul, and for North Korean athletes to possibly take part in the Winter Games, but steadfastly declared North Korea a nuclear power.

Gunmen kill 12 in Cairo church
The church attack is part of a "ongoing crisis" in Egypt, said Omar Ashour, a professor of security studies at the Doha Institute. Police later cordoned off the crime scene as onlookers crowded around the church, while a forensics team combed the area.

But far from persuading Kim to give up his nuclear drive, analysts say Trump's tough talk may have prompted the North Korean leader to drive through with his risky quest. But he also struck a conciliatory tone in his New Year's address, wishing success for the Winter Olympics set to begin in the South in February and suggesting the North may send a delegation to participate.

In early December, the USA began another round of military exercises with South Korea, flying in F-22 fighter jets and other military aircraft. Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that the United States is "closer to a nuclear war with North Korea" than ever.

Mullen's warning comes as tensions continue to increase between North Korea and the global community.

Analysts say Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington as a way to ease global isolation and sanctions against North Korea.

Despite the apparent olive branch, Kim also repeated claims that he could hit anywhere in the USA with a nuclear weapon, and called for mass production of nuclear warheads. He also did not touch on Kim's demand that Seoul cancel its annual joint military exercises with the United States.


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