South Korea Offers to Hold High-Level Talks With North on Olympics - NBC10 Boston
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South Korea Offers to Hold High-Level Talks With North on Olympics

If there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015

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    NEWSLETTERS

    North Korea's Nuclear Missile Program Explained - Part 1: Cache

    With North Korea conducting a sixth nuclear test on Sept. 2, 2017, there have been a lot of questions about the capabilities of the country's nuclear program. Dr. Bruce Bennett, a Senior International/Defense Researcher at the RAND Corporation, is a leading expert on the subject, breaks down everything you need to know about the range and impact of North Korea's nuclear missile program, and what it means for global security.

    Watch Part 2: Military Options here

    Watch Part 3: Other Solutions here

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017)

    South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks with rival North Korea to find ways to cooperate on next month's Winter Olympics in the South. Seoul's quick proposal following a rare rapprochement overture from the North a day earlier offers the possibility of better ties after a year that saw a nuclear standoff increase fear of war on the Korean Peninsula.

    In a closely watched New Year's address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday that he was willing to send a delegation to the Olympics, though he also repeated fiery nuclear threats against the United States. Analysts say Kim may be trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its ally Washington in a bid to reduce international isolation and sanctions against North Korea.

    President Donald Trump reacted to the development on Twitter by saying it was "perhaps good news, perhaps not."

    "Sanctions and 'other' pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea," he wrote Tuesday. "Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not - we will see!"

    North Korea's Nuclear Missile Program Explained - Part 2: Military Options

    [NATL] North Korea's Nuclear Missile Program Explained - Part 2: Military Options

    With North Korea conducting a sixth nuclear test on Sept. 2, 2017, there have been a lot of questions about the capabilities of that country's nuclear program. Dr. Bruce Bennett, a Senior International/Defense Researcher at the RAND Corporation, is a leading expert on the subject and breaks down possible military responses and what their implications would be.

    Watch Part 1: Cache here

    Watch Part 3: Other Solutions here

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017)

    Kim's overture was welcome news for a South Korean government led by liberal President Moon Jae-in, who favors dialogue to ease the North's nuclear threats and wants to use the Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties.

    Moon's unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, proposed in a nationally televised news conference that the two Koreas meet Jan. 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic cooperation and how to improve overall ties.

    Earlier Tuesday, Moon spoke of what he described as Kim's positive response to his earlier dialogue overtures and ordered officials to study how to restore talks with North Korea and get the North to participate in the Olympics.

    The International Olympic Committee welcomed the overtures.

    "The IOC welcomes the mutual intention of the governments of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to start direct talks about the participation of athletes from DPRK in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018."

    The IOC said in a statement it is continuing discussions with North Korea and its invitation to North Korea to take part in the games would remain open.

    North Korea's Nuclear Missile Program Explained - Part 3: Other Solutions

    [NATL] North Korea's Nuclear Missile Program Explained - Part 3: Other Solutions

    With North Korea conducting a sixth nuclear test on Sept. 2, 2017, there have been a lot of questions about the capabilities of that country's nuclear program.  Dr. Bruce Bennett, a Senior International/Defense Researcher at the RAND Corporation, is a leading expert on the subject and explains what other pressures besides military options the world can put on North Korea in order to slow down or eliminate their nuclear capabilities.

    Watch Part 1: Cache here

    Watch Part 2: Military Options here

    (Published Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017)

    North Korea did not immediately react. But if there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015. Relations between the Koreas have plunged as North Korea has expanded its weapons programs amid a hard-line stance by Moon's conservative predecessors.

    Last year, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles as part of its push to possess a nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. The North was subsequently hit with toughened U.N. sanctions, and Kim and Trump exchanged warlike rhetoric and crude personal insults against each other.

    Kim said in his speech Monday that North Korea last year achieved the historic feat of "completing" its nuclear forces. Outside experts say that it's only a matter of time before the North acquires the ability to hurl nuclear weapons at the mainland U.S., but that the country still has a few technologies to master, such as a warhead's ability to survive atmospheric re-entry.

    Talks could provide a temporary thaw in strained inter-Korean ties, but conservative critics worry that they may only earn the North time to perfect its nuclear weapons. After the Olympics, inter-Korean ties could become frosty again because the North has made it clear it has no intention of accepting international calls for nuclear disarmament and instead wants to bolster its weapons arsenal in the face of what it considers increasing U.S. threats.

    "Kim Jong Un's strategy remains the same. He's developing nukes while trying to weaken international pressure and the South Korea-U.S. military alliance and get international sanctions lifted," said Shin Beomchul of the Seoul-based Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

    He said the North might also be using its potential Olympic participation as a chance to show its nuclear program is not intended to pose a threat to regional peace.

    Will Team USA Compete in the 2018 Winter Games?

    [NATL] Will Team USA Compete in the 2018 Winter Games?

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley recently said it was an "open question" if U.S. athletes would compete in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics because of concerns over North Korea. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to comment.

    (Published Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017)

    In his address Monday, Kim said the United States should be aware that his country's nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat. He said he has a "nuclear button" on his office desk, warning that "the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike."

    He called for improved ties and a relaxation of military tensions with South Korea, saying the Winter Olympics could showcase the status of the Korean nation. But Kim also repeated that South Korea must stop annual military exercises with the United States, which he calls an invasion rehearsal against the North.

    About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea to help deter potential aggression from the North, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.