S. Korean president welcomes DPRK leader's New Year address

S. Korean president welcomes DPRK leader's New Year address

He said that both Koreas should seek to resolve problems among themselves rather than seek help from outside of the region.

Pyongyang and Seoul should improve their relations and the path to dialogue is open, Mr Kim was reported as saying.

Referring to the Olympics, he said later: "We're willing to take necessary steps including sending our delegation, and for this, the authorities from the North and South could urgently meet".

He used the message to warn the USA that the country is now in range of his nuclear warheads.

UNSC Resolution 2375, adopted in September, bans member countries from ship-to-ship transfers of any goods for North Korea.

South Korea's unification minister Cho Myoung-Gyon told a press conference that Seoul was "reiterating our willingness to hold talks with the North at any time and place in any form". Since taking office in May, he has pushed for dialogue with Kim's regime in a bid to ease tensions - a shift from the conservative government that he replaced.

An official from the Pyeongtaek Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, who also requested anonymity, confirmed that the vessel had been disallowed from leaving the port since December 21. The Olympics in Pyeongchang are about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the North Korean border, prompting concerns that North Korea might disrupt the event.

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His remarks come after both the USA and the United Nations slapped repeated rounds of sanctions against the state in response to Pyongyang's aggressive weapons testing.

Revere said Kim's speech contained the strongest defense yet of North Korea's status as a permanently nuclear-armed country.

"The United States will never start a war with me and our country", he said, adding that Pyongyang has "completed the creation of North Korea's nuclear forces".

President Moon said last month that annual springtime war games between South Korea and the United States can be delayed if the DPRK refrains from conducting any provocation, calling on Pyongyang to participate in the winter sports event to make the PyeongChang Olympics a peace Olympic.

Kim's January 1 speeches have previously set the direction for tensions on the Korean peninsula.

The sanctions on North Korea were imposed a year ago after it carried out a series of tests of ballistics missiles that could be armed with a nuclear warhead and underground nuclear weapons tests. South Korea assessed that the most recent launch in late November of a new ICBM - its largest yet - could potentially reach Washington, though additional analysis was needed to determine whether it was capable of re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. He also did not touch on Kim's demand that Seoul cancel its annual joint military exercises with the United States. The tests were the focus of fiery verbal exchanges between the North and U.S. President Donald Trump, who has derisively called Kim, "little rocket man". "It also shows resolving North Korea's nuclear issue has a bigger priority (than improving inter-Korean relations)".

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