South Korea offers Winter Olympic talks to North Korea

North Korean missiles will 'certainly' fly over Canada, a Japanese expert says

"The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table", he said, according to the Associated Press translation, in a speech carried by state television.

In his New Year's address on January 1, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un voiced his willingness to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and to hold inter-Korean talks to achieve that end.

Professor Kim Hyun-Wook at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy said the North was trying to use the Olympics to improve ties with the South despite tensions with the United States showing no signs of abating.

Rather than encouraging US measures that "threaten the security and peace of the Korean peninsula", Seoul should instead respond to overtures from the North, and "stop nuclear war exercises with foreign forces", Kim said.

The South Korean government must make the most of this opportunity to bring about the genuine improvement of inter-Korean relations and the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim said he will consider sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics Games to be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February.

Lee Hee-Beom, the head of the Pyeongchang Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (POCOG) told AFP: "We actively welcome the North's suggestion that it is willing to engage in talks for the participation in the Olympics".

Kim said in his televised New Year's address that the two Koreas should have "immediate talks" on the matter, Yonhap reported.

South Korean President Moon Jae In has said North Korea's participation will ensure safety of the Pyeongchang Olympics and proposed last month that Seoul and Washington postpone large military drills that the North denounces as a rehearsal for war until after the Games.

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Kim promised to focus this year on producing nuclear warheads and missiles for operational deployment, adding that the United States could now "never start a war against me or our country".

North Korea's nuclear capabilities do not yet match Kim's boasts, experts say, since it is far from clear it could successfully deliver a nuclear weapon on one of its missiles.

But the North Korean leader said he would not use the weapons unless threatened.

Kim said the Olympics would "serve as a good chance to display our Korean people's grace toward the world".

John Delury, a professor of global relations at Yonsei University in Seoul, said Kim's message to Seoul was "more promising" than he had anticipated, addressing in a specific and actionable way South Korea's desire to make the Games a success.

Tension has been rising over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of years of U.N. Security Council resolutions, with bellicose rhetoric coming from both Pyongyang and the White House.

When asked about North Korea's nuclear claims on Sunday night, Trump said only, "We'll see, we'll see".

Kim seems likely to tone down his weapons testing at least ahead of the Olympics, said Nam Sung-wook, a North Korea expert at Korea University in Seoul.

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