Brighter path available for North Korea if it chooses denuclearisation

Bloomberg’s Jodi Schneider reports on the U.S.-North Korea relations

The announcement came after Gen. Kim Yong-chol, who headed North Korea's delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics closing ceremony, met South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the closing ceremony of Olympics, BBC reported on Sunday.

"If the joint drills are low-key and North Korea refrains from reacting too wildly, then it could be a good start for exploratory talks between the US and North Korea to at least freeze Pyongyang's nuclear program", said Koh Yu-hwan, who teaches North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.

Addressing a gathering of state governors at the White House, Trump lauded China for its efforts to curb North Korea's economic activity but said "Russia is sending in what China is taking out".

Both the US and South Korean responses come a day after North Korean officials said they are willing to sit down with representatives from the US.

Clear differences of opinion are emerging between South Korea and the United States over how to deal with North Korea, with the USA accusing Pyongyang of attempting to "buy time" to further advance its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

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At least he didn't get sent off like in 2015-16! We had to be organised, everybody had to follow the game plan and have spirit. Paul Pogba will only stay at Manchester United if manager Jose Mourinho is reportedly shown the Old Trafford exit door.

But there was no known interaction between the North and the US during the Games and Washington on Friday imposed what US President Donald Trump described as the "heaviest ever" sanctions on the isolated regime.

North Korea denounced the sanctions in a statement carried on its state media and said a blockade by the United States would be considered an act of war.

The Olympics gave a boost to recent engagement between the two Koreas after more than a year of sharply rising tensions over the North's missile program and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

The North hasn't tested a nuclear device or ballistic missile for months. The delegation, which included North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, held talks with the leadership of the South. They will also include North Korean and US athletes - which could give this hot regional crisis one last "sporting" shot at cooling off.

Earlier this month, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) invited two North Korean para-skiers to participate at the Winter Games by granting them bipartite slots in the Para-Nordic skiing event. They predicted his departure will add to doubts about USA willingness to conduct diplomacy with Pyongyang, while compounding the depletion of the State Department's top ranks since Trump took office.

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The South Korean president's office says a North Korean delegate to Olympics has said Pyongyang is willing to hold talks with U.S. Kim Yong Chol himself is blacklisted under Seoul's unilateral sanctions against the North, which subject him to an assets freeze.

"North Korea will play the nuclear card in its favor (if we enter into those negotiations)".

North Korea's representatives crossed the border on Sunday using a military road to attend the ceremony and to meet with South Korea's government.

While Ivanka Trump was sitting near a North Korean official in the stadium, she didn't appear to greet the delegate from Pyongyang.

In January, the two Koreas also held working-level talks prior to the Olympics that ended Sunday. "We want to talk also, only under the right conditions".

Meanwhile, South Korea's foreign minister said sanctions on Pyongyang were only meant to pressure the country into giving up its nuclear ambitions.

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The UN refugee agency has also been excluded from a Rohingya refugee repatriation process organised by Bangladesh and Myanmar. Almost 700,000 Rohingyas have fled violence in Rakhine state since last August and took shelter in Bangladesh.

On Monday, Mr. Trump noted Pyongyang's willingness to talk, but didn't say the US would accept the offer.

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