Trump says he'd be open to talking with North Korean leader

South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myung Gyun shakes hands with North Korean chief delegate Ri Son-Gwon.—AFP

(.) The breakthrough call between Seoul and Pyongyang came last week after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's address and the reopening of a communication hotline at Panmunjeom. "He understands that", Trump told reporters Saturday.

The South's delegation also includes Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung, who has a range of experience in inter-Korean talks.

North and South Korea have named their delegates for the upcoming talks involving 5 ministerial and vice-ministerial-level officials from each side.

This week the US and South Korea agreed to suspend military exercises off the Korean Peninsula until after the Winter Olympic Games.

She said the United States is "not letting up on the pressure" to end North Korea's nuclear weapons development and warned, "We can destroy them, too".

According to reports, Bach is scheduled to meet Chang Ung, a member of the North Korean Olympic body at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne to discuss North Korea's possible participation in the games.

"We will listen to what North Korea will say".

"The entire process of past North-South relations shows that efforts to improve bilateral ties can come to fruition only when the two sides work together based upon cooperation among Korean people", said the article published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"The IOC will at very short notice continue its talks with all the parties concerned so that we can take the necessary decisions about participation and the format of any participation in due time", the IOC spokesman said.

Stating with the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the two countries have since made joint entrances at nine major worldwide events.

South Korea wants to discuss the resumption of family reunions but Pyongyang snubbed previous offers, saying it will not consider further reunions unless several of its citizens are returned by the South.

In addition to preparing for the talks, the taskforce is said to be working on a number of ways to increase collaboration between the two Koreas' teams in the games.

Ri, who has a military background, is known as one of the closest aides to Kim Yong-chol, the head of the ruling party's United Front Department and former chief of North Korea's reconnaissance bureau.

The government of liberal President Moon Jae-in has expressed hope that the North's participation will ease tensions on the divided peninsula, which have flared up due to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations. "They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons".

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