Kim says USA should know North Korean nuclear force a reality

South Korea, US working closely for joint response to North Korea: US State Dept. official

"Implicit in Kim Jong Un's speech is a willingness to engage with others, including the United States, on the basis of their acceptance of the "reality" of North Korea's permanent nuclear status". "Both the North and the South should make efforts".

The United States has also pressured China and other nations to cut trade and diplomatic ties with North Korea, as part of global efforts to dry up Pyongyang's illegal cash flows that could fund its weapons programs.

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged oil tanker suspected of evading worldwide sanctions by trading with North Korea, officials said Sunday.

In his address Monday, Kim said the United States should be aware that his country's nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat.

The implication, for now, is simple: Kim Jong-un's nuclear forces are operational and ready to deter the United States and retaliate to any first strike that would seek to either disarm Kim Jong-un of his weapons or kill him.

Kim struck an unusually conciliatory note in his annual New Year's Day address, declaring his wish "for peaceful resolution with our southern border".

Beyond his talk of a "nuclear button", Kim Jong-un's most diplomatically significant remark in the address concerned inter-Korean relations.

"The change from the (Kim's) previous dark Maoist suits to a softer toned grey Western-style suit likely aimed to underpin peace which Kim stressed in his address, and reflected a relaxed state of mind that probably came with the completion of the North's nuclear power", the Institute said. That year, the Supreme People's Assembly promulgated an ordinance on North Korea's position as a "nuclear weapons state". Last year, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles as part of its push to possess a nuclear missile capable of reaching anywhere in the United States. "I hope that North Korea will also participate, which will provide a very good opportunity for inter-Korean peace and reconciliation", Moon said in November 2017, during North Korea's two-month-long pause in ballistic missile testing.

The Winter Olympics will be held from 9-25 February, followed by the Paralympics from 9-18 March.

But he reiterated his demand that the South Korean government stop holding joint military exercises with the USA and stop bringing in US weapons.

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