Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been rising at an alarming rate over the past year. Now, they appear to be boiling over.
Yahoo News reported that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un spoke out on Monday to warn the U.S. that he has a “nuclear button” on his desk ready for use if North Korea is threatened. He also offered an olive branch to South Korea, saying he was “open to dialogue” with Seoul.
Kim reportedly used his televised New Year’s Day speech to declare North Korea “a peace-loving and responsible nuclear power” and call for lower military tensions on the Korean peninsula and improved ties with the South.
“When it comes to North-South relations, we should lower the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment,” Kim said. “Both the North and the South should make efforts.”
He went on to say that he will consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.
“North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to showcase the national pride and we wish the Games will be a success. Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility,” Kim said.
South Korea released a statement saying that it welcomed Kim’s offer to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Games and hold talks with the South to discuss possible participation.
“We have always stated our willingness to talk with North Korea any time and anywhere if that would help restore inter-Korean relations and lead to peace on the Korean peninsula,” a spokesman for the presidential Blue House said. “We hope the two Koreas will sit down and find a solution to lower tensions and establish peace on the Korean peninsula.”
When asked about Kim’s speech, President Donald Trump simply said “we’ll see, we’ll see”, as he walked into New Year’s eve celebration at Mar-a-Lago, his elite resort in Florida. The U.S. State Department has not yet released a statement about Kim’s speech.
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