Seoul offers high-level delegation for N. Korea talks

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-South Korean military exercises Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, which usually take place in the February-March timeframe, until after the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics, which conclude on March 18.

The two Koreas agreed last week to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years and are expected to discuss the North's participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month.

The tweet, which as of Thursday, had been retweeted more than 165,000 times, parodied Trump's threat on Tuesday that the US nuclear capabilities are far greater than that of North Korea's.

Pompeo said USA intelligence had provided an understanding of North Korea's capabilities and intent, and got the pace of the nuclear program "mostly right".

President Donald Trump told reporters Saturday at Camp David that he's open to talking with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. More recently, he had dismissed diplomatic efforts, even publicly chiding US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in October for "wasting his time" by pursing them. Yet, South Korean officials hope this could pave way for future talks, which could include easing tension in the region.

"North Korea is going to be Trump's biggest foreign policy challenge in 2018", Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank the Brookings Institute, told Xinhua.

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While emphasising the need for "maximum pressure" on the North, Mr Trump has also asserted that the policy should go with "maximum engagement" with the regime's leadership to steer the country towards nuclear disarmament.

On Saturday, North Korea's Olympic representative said the hermit state was "likely to participate" in the games, Kyodo news agency reported.

After December 2015, this will be the first such high-level direct contact between the two Koreas, which are technically in a state of war as the 1950-53 conflict did not end in a peace treaty.

A commentary Sunday published by the state-run Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang described improved ties with Seoul as a "crucial matter", departing from its usually dismissive tone toward the South.

According to Lindsay Ford, Director of Political-Security Affairs at the Asia Society Policy Institute, the South's preparations for the Olympics provide North Korea with the flawless opening to achieve its objectives.

"North Korea would love to see a growing gap between US and South Korea, but its really a byproduct of North Korean goals rather than its objective", Go added. If North Korea responds by suspending military tests, then the "dual suspension" will be in effect, which Russian Federation and China-and Lyndon and Helga LaRouche-say is required to move to negotiations for a durable settlement. He would "absolutely" be willing to talk on the phone to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "Talks for the sake of talks are meaningless".

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