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North Korea says likely to compete in Olympics

North Korea says likely to compete in Olympics

North Korea agreed on Friday to hold official talks with the South next week, the first in more than two years, hours after the United States and South Korea delayed a military exercise amid a standoff over the North's nuclear and missile programmes.

The three allies "have confirmed a shared policy to further increase pressure against North Korea", Suga told a regular press briefing. "This year very well could be the time that, unless there is a diplomatic breakthrough, he takes decisive action on these goals", West said. If North Korea is involved in the Olympics, it will be unlikely to seek to disrupt the event in some way. One positive step toward that end came Thursday when the White House announced that Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have agreed to "de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises" so the countries "can focus on ensuring the security of the Games".

"Each course has major risks, but Trump appears to have concluded that maintaining the status quo is not an acceptable alternative". He has indicated he is open to many different options, including military strikes on North Korea's launch capabilities. "He seems very serious about resolving this issue this year", West said.

A total of 1,127 North Koreans arrived in South Korea previous year as compared to 1,418 in 2016, the Unification Ministry data showed.

"Including this case (the delaying of the drill), Japan, the US and South Korea closely share information and align policies regarding North Korea", Suga said.

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After Kim asserted that he had a nuclear button at the ready, Trump last week dismissed the taunt by saying in a tweet that the US button at his disposal was bigger and more powerful.

"Though we can not rule out a preventative strike against North Korea entirely, the threat of a messy war in East Asia that shoves the world back into economic recession is a steep price to pay", said Rodger Baker, Vice President of Strategic Analysis at Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence group.

But analysts cautioned the two leaders to cool their anger toward each other, fretting that the bluster could lead down a unsafe path of no return.

Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said it was expected the two Koreas will use a recently restored cross-border communication channel to determine who will head their respective delegations next week.

Expressing skepticism that North Korea was honest in trying to improve relations, Pompeo added: "We'll just have to wait and see how the conversations go Tuesday". With ticket sales for the Games reportedly lagging, the South is probably desperate to do whatever it can to keep the Olympics from being a failure, something that would be a blow to South Korea both in terms of reputation and economics.

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