S.Korea welcomes Kim's offer for dialogue

S.Korea welcomes Kim's offer for dialogue

S.Korea welcomes Kim's offer for dialogue

North Korea's leader has used his New Year message to warn the USA that he has a "nuclear button" on his desk - which is always in reach.

After reiterating that his country had "completed" its nuclear deterrent against the United States - a fact that its state media proclaimed following the successful flight-test of the Hwasong-15 intercontinental-range ballistic missile on November 29 - Kim added that he had a "nuclear button" physically installed on his desk in his office. "He's developing nukes while trying to weaken global pressure and the South Korea-U.S. military alliance and get worldwide sanctions lifted", said Shin Beomchul of the Seoul-based Korea National Diplomatic Academy.

On Sunday South Korean officials said they seized a second ship they suspected of transferring oil to North Korea.

Departing from his usual black or navy suits, Kim gave his televised speech wearing black-rimmed glasses and slicked back hair, speaking fluently and rarely looking down to read as he raised the possibility of sending a delegation to the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The light-grey suit and matching tie North Korea's Kim Jong Un donned for his New Year's address was likely carefully calculated to project a softer, more relaxed image to go with his surprise offer for talks with Seoul, analysts said on Tuesday. However, he also steadfastly declared North Korea a nuclear power.

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Lee Hee-beom, president of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee, said it welcomed North Korean participation and would "discuss relevant matters with the South Korean government as well as the International Olympic Committee".

Tension has been high on the divided peninsula as the isolated North staged a series of nuclear and missile tests that sparked global alarm, and traded threats of war with the US.

Kim Gun-hee, a consultant on image making and leadership, said the grey suit may have been created to deflect some of the negative global attention Kim's nuclear and missile tests have prompted.

Kim said that rather than encouraging US measures that "threaten the security and peace of the Korean peninsula", Seoul should instead respond to overtures from the North, and "stop nuclear war exercises with foreign forces".

"The U.S. should know that the button for nuclear weapons is on my table", he said during the speech, as provisionally translated by the AP. He said the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics would be a good opportunity to showcase the status of the Korean nation.

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