North Korea And South Korea Officially Agree To Hold High-Level Talks

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump have agreed not to conduct the joint war games between Seoul and Washington during the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympic Games slated to kick off in February, Moon's office said Thursday.

North Korea first called on Wednesday afternoon and the countries' officials spoke for 20 minutes, mostly to ensure the communication system worked properly, according to South Korea's Ministry of Unification.

The meeting is scheduled to take place January 9 in the border village of Panmunjom.

While it has in the past existed as a key way for the two sides to tamp down accidental flare-ups along the DMZ, the North reportedly stopped answering the line two years ago after South Korea closed what had been a joint North-South industrial complex in Kaesong - a town on the North Korean side of the divide.

In an interview with USA broadcaster Voice of America, Pence said the president's leadership on the world stage has resulted in "measurable progress", especially on the issue of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

"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.

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Later he said, "In terms of whether it's a one-off (gesture) from him or a real olive branch, I don't know".

Although the decision was announced Thursday, the idea of delaying the military exercises had been under quiet discussion for weeks. Foal Eagle is a series of exercises created to test the readiness of the US and South Korean militaries. Last year, he ridiculed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson for talking about negotiations with the North.

Kim also welcomed Seoul's support for his overtures, a North Korean official told state television.

"The fact that South Korea wants to talk to North Korea, hopefully with China chairing the meeting, is a good sign", Armstrong added.

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. But Trump's ambassador to the United Nations insisted that talks won't be meaningful unless the North is getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

Trump, who hurled fresh insults at the North Korean leader this week, took credit for any dialogue that takes place. Trump tweeted, "I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

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