Kim Jong Un says he's 'open to dialogue' with South Korea so North Korea can compete in the Olympics — and Seoul wants to talk

Business Insider | 1/2/2018 | Christine Kim, Reuters
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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was open to negotiations with South Korea.

South Korea offered talks Tuesday amid a standoff over the North's weapons programs.

Offer - Talks - Tuesday - US

The offer for high-level talks next Tuesday had been discussed with the US.

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea on Tuesday offered talks with North Korea amid a standoff over its weapons programs, a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that he was open to negotiations but that his country would push ahead with "mass producing" nuclear warheads.

Offer - Talks - Tuesday - US - South

The offer for high-level talks next Tuesday had been discussed with the US, the South's unification minister said, while a decision on whether to push back a massive joint military drill between South Korea and the US until after the Winter Olympics was pending.

Tension has been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, which it pursues in defiance of years of UN Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House. The North sees the regular war drills between the South and the US as preparations for war.

Interests - Sides - North - Korea - North

"We look forward to candidly discussing interests from both sides face-to-face with North Korea along with the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics," Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon told reporters.

"I repeat, the government is open to talking with North Korea, regardless of time, location, and form."

Cho - Dialogue - Border - Village - Panmunjom

Cho said he expected the dialogue at the border village of Panmunjom, if it happens, to be focused on North Korea's participation at the Olympics in February, but other issues would most likely arise, including the decentralization of North Korea.

Should the talks be held next Tuesday, it would be the first such dialogue since a vice-ministerial meeting in December 2015.

Offer - New - Year - Day - Speech

The offer landed after a New Year's Day speech by Kim, who said he was "open to dialogue"...
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