Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

USA ready to talk to N. Korea at right time: Seoul

USA ready to talk to N. Korea at right time: Seoul

Although North Korea missed the deadline to participate in the 2018 games, the International Olympic Committee could still extend invitations to compete.

Sanders told reporters Tuesday that President Trump was briefed over the weekend on the discussions by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and that "the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is our number one priority".

The two countries agreed on Tuesday, following their first talks in over two years, that North Korea would send a large delegation to next month's Games in Pyeongchang.

Mr Trump also gave an assurance that the United States would not take any military action against the North while talks are ongoing.

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President Donald Trump threw his weight behind the Olympics-inspired diplomatic opening with North Korea, telling South Korea's leader Wednesday that the US was open to talks with Kim Jong Un's government under the right circumstances.

The US has cautiously welcomed the talks, but warned that the North's invitation to the Games must not undermine worldwide efforts to isolate Kim's regime.

"The denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula as declared by the two Koreas (in the past) is our fundamental position that can never be compromised", he told a pool of 200 local and foreign journalists.

But Mr Moon said a two-track approach of engagement with pressure would bring about a virtuous circle.

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South Korea's unilateral sanctions on the North include a ban on new economic exchanges and the closure of the joint Kaesong industrial complex. The newspaper of the ruling party on Tuesday called Trump a "lunatic" and said the US needs to accept North Koreais now a nuclear power.

According to NBC News correspondent in Seoul, Bill Neely, some people in Seoul and Washington believe Kim Jung Un's real motive for holding these talks is to drive a wedge between South Korea and the United States to try to break their alliance. Kim quickly accepted Moon's offer. Moon's government wants North Korea to take part in the Games as a way to improve relations.

A National Security Council spokesman, who was not authorized to be quoted by name and requested anonymity, said Trump assured Moon that press reports suggesting the USA was considering imminent, unilateral military actions against North Korea were false.

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