North Korean defector numbers slump as controls tighten

Lester Mason
January 14, 2018

North Korea has yet to respond to the South Korean proposal, leaving some uncertainty as to the agenda and the venue of the talks.

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

But Kim remained steadfast on the issue of nuclear weapons, saying the North would mass-produce nuclear missiles for operational deployment and warned he would launch a nuclear strike if his country was threatened. The nationalist newspaper criticized Trump's posturing and advised the US and its allies to take the opportunity to reach out to North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un, who has defied global sanctions and amassed nuclear and ballistic weapons to defend his country.

Unable to cross into South Korea by land, majority of the defectors choose to cross the Amnok or Tumen rivers to reach China and from there to a third country - mainly Thailand and Mongolia - where they ask for asylum at South Korean embassies and consulates, something they can not do in Beijing.

"The United States can never fight a war against me and our state", he said in his speech, according to The Washington Post.

The announcement came hours after the United States said it has agreed to delay annual joint military exercises with South Korea until after the Winter Olympics, which run from February 9 to 25. The head of USA forces in South Korea warned on Thursday against raising hopes over North Korea's peace overture.

"Sure, I believe in talking", he said. "Because there are so many practical matters to deal with, such as putting together a support team and a team of people to attend the reunions, we're hesitant to jump to conclusions about whether or not an agreement can be reached during the meeting".

A Japanese government spokesman said Japan would do what's necessary to keep up the pressure on Pyongyang to give up its weapons programs.

One of the most important reasons to stay on guard against the North is its likely peace offensive aimed at fostering ideological division in the South and cracking its alliance. We're very firm. But I would be, absolutely I would do that.

The new resort is the culmination of another flagship project meant to show the outside world that North Korea can thrive despite United Nations sanctions. Rash arguments that South Korea should offer something bold in the talks with North Korea will only obstruct efforts to resolve its nuclear programme.

"Pyongyang has taken the initiative to improve relations with Seoul this time".

In his New Year speech, Kim said the country had completed its nuclear deterrent - Pyongyang says it needs to defend itself against a U.S. invasions - and he had a "nuclear button on my desk".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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