Pyeongchang Olympics Security Will Leave Little to Chance

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The North and South held their first official dialogue in more than two years on Tuesday, the long-standing Korean rivals agreeing that Pyongyang - which boycotted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul - would send a large delegation to the Games that are to be held between 9-25 February, and promising further high-level talks.

"I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un", Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

According to Reuters, Ri Son Gwon, head of North Korea's delegation at the inter-Korean talks, reportedly said that "North Korea's weapons are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren, China or Russian Federation", and that its nuclear program was not an issue between the two countries. "It could be a resulting work of the USA -led sanctions and pressure".

China on Friday reported that its trade with North Korea fell 10.5 percent in 2017, compared with the previous year.

"This [postponement] has been made so the United States could escape its hard predicament, a country that can no longer ignore our leading efforts in improving North-South relations and securing peace on the Korean peninsula", the North Korean statement read.

The president added that the talks wouldn't necessarily be held without preconditions.

During his first year in the White House, Trump issued a series of bombastic statements about Kim and North Korea as the reclusive nation carried out a number of nuclear and ballistic missiles tests.

The White House also said in a statement, "President Trump expressed his openness to holding talks between the United States and North Korea at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances". "A lot of good talks are going on right now, a lot of good energy".

South Korea's unilateral sanctions on the North include a ban on new economic exchanges and the closure of the joint Kaesong industrial complex.

'Who knows where it leads?'

Sogang University global relations professor Kim Jae Chun told The Straits Times: "Many people worry that the Moon Jae In government will fall into the trap North Korea set up, so it is important to emphasise that denuclearisation is something he can't give up". North Korea, however, said no discussion on nuclear weapons will take place as they were aimed at the USA, not South Korea, Russia or China.

The news followed a meeting earlier Wednesday between Olympic chief Thomas Bach and North Korea's IOC member Chang Ung on the practicalities of sending athletes to Pyeongchang. Moon reportedly said Trump deserved significant credit for the dialogue. The US president denied that delaying military exercises on the Korean Peninsula for the Olympics sends the wrong message to the North Koreans, that he is in some way bending to them.

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