U.S. not budging on demands that North Korea halt nuclear weapons
U.S. not budging on demands that North Korea halt nuclear weapons
(2nd LD) S. Korea seeks to discuss divided families, easing tensions at inter-Korean talks
09 January, 2018, 01:11
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump's inflammatory nuclear button tweet that targeted North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un.
(.) The breakthrough call between Seoul and Pyongyang came last week after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's address and the reopening of a communication hotline at Panmunjeom.
Trump said on Saturday that he was open to talking to Kim.
Trump said "if something can happen and something can come out of those talks that would be a great thing for all of humanity". They have to stop testing.
Liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who seeks rapprochement with North Korea, quickly responded to Kim's outreach by offering talks at the border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and overall ties.
"It's a risky situation", Haley added.
This week the US and South Korea agreed to suspend military exercises off the Korean Peninsula until after the Winter Olympic Games.
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"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.
She said the United States is "not letting up on the pressure" to end North Korea's nuclear weapons development and warned, "We can destroy them, too".
"For us, it's a practical matter", Mattis said to reporters, explaining that the Olympics are South Korea's largest draw of worldwide tourism. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has insisted the delay is a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics, not a political gesture. But such symbols of reduced animosity would receive widespread attention at Pyeongchang after a year of heightened nuclear tensions during which Kim and Trump traded threats of nuclear war and crude personal attacks.
Critics called Kim's mixed message a gambit to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, weaken US -led global pressure and buy time for North Korea to ideal its nuclear weapons. Pompeo defended Trump's tweets as appropriate and "consistent" with US goals of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.
This is an apparent reference to increased criticism by the conservative South Korean opposition, which argues that financing the North's athletes in PyeongChang could violate global sanctions imposed on the Kim Jong-un regime for its weapons programme.
Expressing skepticism that North Korea was honest in trying to improve relations, Pompeo added: "We'll just have to wait and see how the conversations go Tuesday".
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