South Korea offers talks with defiant North ahead of Olympics

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"The entire mainland of the U.S.is within the range of our nuclear weapons, and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office", Kim said in a televised New Year's address.

Should the talks be held on January 9, it would be the first such dialogue since a vice-ministerial meeting in December 2015.

"It's about time that the North and the South sit down and seriously discuss how to improve inter-Korean relations by ourselves and dramatically open up", Kim said on Monday.

"We're actually closer in my view to a nuclear with North Korea and in that region than we've ever been and I just don't see how, I don't see the opportunities to solve this diplomatically at this particular point", Mullen said on ABC News' This Week.

But the North has not answered a call by the South since it severed the channel in February 2016 in an angry protest against Seoul's shutdown of an inter-Korean industrial complex.

"The government will have to strive more to come up with a countermeasure not to get caught in a trap set by Kim Jong Un". However, Kim appeared to extend an olive branch toward South Korea, wishing it success in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

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Choi met North Korea's sports official Mun Woong in China on December 18 on the sidelines of a global youth football tournament where North and South Korea soccer teams competed, the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported.

The governor did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.

In early December, the United States began another round of military exercises with South Korea, flying in F-22 fighter jets and other military aircraft. "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".

An official from South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the 5,100-ton KOTI and its crew members were being held at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port on the country's west coast amid an inspection over supposed "North Korea-related" activity.

The U.N. Security Council last month unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea for a recent intercontinental ballistic missile test, seeking to limit its access to refined petroleum products and crude oil.

"The entire mainland of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear weapons and the nuclear button is always on the desk of my office". The U.S. "should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality".

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