North Korea agrees to talks after US, South Korea postpone military drills

North Korea said Wednesday it will reopen a telephone hotline with South Korea - re-establishing a key emergency communications link between the two nations a day after Seoul put forward a proposal for high-level talks with Pyongyang.

North Korea asked for further negotiations about the meeting to be carried out via documented exchanges, Baik said.

Mr Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un have been trading barbs throughout the US President's first year in office; Mr Trump called Mr Kim "Rocket Man" multiple times and the North Korean state news agency had called the US leader a "dotard". The large annual military exercises with South Korea would resume sometime after the Paralympic Games conclude March 18, he said.

Tillerson said how such talks might begin had yet to be determined, but North Korea would have to signal it understood that they would be aimed at "final, full denuclearization".

"Those talks clearly are the result of the amount of global pressure and they are a way, I think, for North Korea to start talking while keeping it contained to a benign issue", Mr Mattis said.

Military tanks took positions near the North Korean border
Ryu Seung Il via ZUMA Wire TERRIFYING Military tanks were seen taking positions near the North Korean border

What the neighbors had to say to each other may disappoint those who looked at this moment as a turning point for the countries, which had not had any direct contact in almost two years since relations broke down over the North's missile and nuclear tests and the South's decision to close down the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex. "Is it one-off from him or a real olive branch?" The last time the two Koreas engaged in official talks was in December 2015. North Korea then called again on Wednesday a few hours later proposing to "call it a day", according to a South Korean ministry official, quoted in the country's news agency Yonhap.

Commercial satellite imagery from December 25 showed a rail-mounted environment shelter had been moved away from a test stand, indicating that an engine test may be in the near future, the website said, rather than a new rocket launch suspected in recent media reports.

China announced on Thursday that its special envoy for Korean affairs, Kong Xuanyou, was heading to Seoul for talks Friday and Saturday.

Trump expressed his hope that the inter-Korean dialogue would bring a good outcome, telling Moon that the United States supports President Moon 100 percent. Officials in Beijing have sought to get the parties back to negotiations to reduce the risk of a U.S. military strike that could topple their longtime ally or draw them into a regional conflict.

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In an interview with France's LCI television on Thursday, he said he had got off to a "very good start" with France's new leader. They make their own decisions independently".

  • Sonia Alvarado