Takeaways From Kim Jong-un's 2018 New Year's Address

Jan 02, 2018, 10:50
Takeaways From Kim Jong-un's 2018 New Year's Address

President Moon Jae-in called for swift measures to realize North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games here on Tuesday, one day after the reclusive North Korean leader hinted at a resumption of inter-Korean dialogue to the end. He said the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics would be a good opportunity to showcase the status of the Korean nation.

The New Year's address is an annual event in the North and is watched closely for indications of the direction and priorities Kim may adopt in the year ahead.

But the North has not answered a call by the South since it severed the channel in February 2016 in an angry protest against Seoul's shutdown of an inter-Korean industrial complex.

"We achieved the goal of completing our state nuclear force in 2017", Kim said in a speech broadcast live by state TV.

"The government will have to strive more to come up with a countermeasure not to get caught in a trap set by Kim Jong Un".

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As tensions spiked in the region in recent months, the global community has slapped a range of sanctions on the North aimed at curbing its weapons programme and squeezing the country's leadership.

The governor did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment.

While this is the first time Kim Jong-un has alluded to having a physical means of launching his country's nuclear weapons in his office - most likely to predetermined targets in the Northeast Asia and the continental United States - the fundamental nuclear command-and-control message from North Korea remains unchanged since 2013.

This week's exchanges follow a year dominated by fiery threats form Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump who vowed to destroy North Korea if threatened, even as U.S. diplomats pushed for a diplomatic solution.

An official from South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the 5,100-ton KOTI and its crew members were being held at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port on the country's west coast amid an inspection over supposed "North Korea-related" activity.

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But Park did not refer to Kim's order to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, as well as speeding up their deployment.

But Mullen also said that Trump has disrupted long-held views of the USA role in the world, and that America's enemies benefit from that uncertainty.

Kim also said he was open to dialogue with Seoul, prompting South Korea on Tuesday to propose high-level talks between the two countries on January 9 at the border truce village of Panmunjeom.

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".

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