Kim Jong Un warns enemies of 'Nuclear Button'

South Korea, US working closely for joint response to North Korea: US State Dept. official

Kim Jong Un warns enemies of 'Nuclear Button'

"In this New Year's address, North Korea seems to have taken great pains with the image portrayed by Kim Jong Un", said an analysis by the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification after Kim's speech.

Kim also reportedly highlighted the isolated state's economic achievements during the speech, and nodded towards trying to improve the country's standard of living. "The United States can never start a war against me and our country".

Cho anticipated that the two Koreas would frankly discuss issues of mutual concern to improve inter-Korean relations as well as the issue on the DPRK's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang in February.

"The improvement of relations between North and South Korea can not go separately with resolving North Korea's nuclear program, so the foreign ministry should coordinate closely with allies and the global community regarding this", Moon said in opening remarks at a cabinet meeting.

Dovish South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who has long favoured engagement to defuse tensions with the North, earlier Tuesday welcomed Kim's suggestion that there could be an opportunity to kick-start dialogue.

Choi Moon-soon, governor of Gangwon Province where the Pyeongchang Olympics is set to be held, has proposed South Korea would send cruise ships to bring North Korean athletes and officials to Pyeongchang, according to South Korean media.

"The whole territory of the within the range of our nuclear strike and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office and this is just a reality, not a threat", he said, while emphasizing that the weapons would only be used if North Korea was threatened.

He said the North and South could meet urgently to discuss the North sending a delegation.

For their part, the South Koreans have been eager to obtain assurances from both Pyongyang and Washington that the games in Pyeongchang, a scant 50 miles from the demilitarized zone, won't be marred by heightened tensions or the outbreak of war. "The South's dilemma is whether we can accept that", Koh said. In his first New Year's address as North Korea's leader in 2013, Kim had frequently sounded short of breath, his voice wavering from time to time.

"Since we are compatriots of the same blood as south Koreans, it is natural for us to share their pleasure over the auspicious event and help them", Kim said in his address.

His annual speech serves as a indication of his priorities for 2018. On Saturday, North Korea said it had no plans to alter the course of its nuclear weapons development in the coming year, but Kim's latest remarks suggest that he may in fact be more receptive to Moon's proposal than he looks.

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