Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Trump Boasts of 'Very Good Relationship' With North Korean Leader

Trump Boasts of 'Very Good Relationship' With North Korean Leader

But to have that lead to dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, experts say, Seoul should act as a mediator.

"These [North Korea] officials feared that the US was already trying to shape the battlefield for a military operation against the North, and that South Koreans do not seem to have grasped the reality that the Trump administration is set on a course for preventive war". Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted the move was a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics and was not a political gesture.

"I don't want to comment on it", Trump told the Wall Street Journal after he was asked directly if he had spoken with Kim. "I'm not saying I have or I haven't". Relations between the two Koreas have warmed ahead of next month's Winter Olympics to be held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

Since Kim inherited power in 2011, North Korea has made rapid progress towards its goal of developing a missile that can deliver an atomic warhead to the United States, which significantly strengthens its negotiating position.

"These activities underscore North Korea's continued efforts to maintain the Punggye-ri sites potential for future nuclear testing", it said. However, Pyongyang is extremely serious about this scenario and is not bluffing when it says that "only one question remains: when will war break out?" he wrote.

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Trump Boasts of 'Very Good Relationship' With North Korean Leader

A South Korean official said Seoul believed the chance of a US strike was still low.

However, the official said, "there are military options that could achieve benefits we consider in our national interest at a cost we are willing to bear".

Kim has warned the United States that he intends to build a nuclear arsenal capable of hitting the United States, prompting threats of military action by Washington.

The expert said the diplomats noted that new elements appearing in South Korea-U.S. joint drills over the past few months have elicited growing concern that "zero hour" is not too far away, referring particularly to the air exercise Vigilant Ace, which involved 230 aircraft, including a large number of varied types of stealth aircraft.

"It may be unsafe after the Olympics", the lawmaker said.

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