The communist state of North Korea has finally agreed to hold official talks with South Korea after it was announced that U.S./South Korean joint military exercises would be delayed.
According to Reuters, the talks will be held on Tuesday, marking the first time any talks have happened since 2015:
The meeting will take place at the border truce village of Panmunjom where officials from both sides are expected to discuss the Winter Olympics, to be held in the South next month, and inter-Korean relations, South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters.
North Korea asked for further negotiations about the meeting to be carried out via documented exchanges, Baik said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said that he will reduce tensions between the North and South Korea, but noted that stopping North Korea’s nuclear missile program is off the table. He also warned that should his country be threatened, he would launch a nuclear attack.
Regardless, Trump credits hard-line stances on North Korea for their willingness to even talk in the first place.
With all of the failed “experts” weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total “might” against the North. Fools, but talks are a good thing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2018
Reuters reported that this was backed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who said: “Those diplomatic efforts are backed by a strong military option if necessary.”
It should be noted that while the military exercises have been delayed, they have not been terminated. The joint exercises are set to resume after the Olympics in an effort to keep up the military’s state of readiness, as well as show North Korea that the joint militaries are not to be trifled with.
Japanese officials also say it will keep its readiness against North Korea at a maximum, noting that North Korea has a habit of talking, and then agitating.
“I think what is important is to maintain a firm defense posture,” Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters. “North Korea goes through phases of apparent dialogue and provocation, but either way, North Korea is continuing its nuclear and missile development. We have no intention of weakening our warning and surveillance.”