Posted January. 04, 2018 08:51,
Updated January. 04, 2018 09:40
The United States has drawn a line with the two Koreans seeking to hold talks, calling the move "their choice" while making it clear that Washington will continue its "maximum pressures and sanctions" aimed at making Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons program. U.S. President Donald Trump responded to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's bragging about the North's nuclear capabilities by saying that the United States has much stronger nuclear weapons. Some hawks in Washington went as far as to suggest that the United States boycott the PyeongChang Winter Olympics if North Korea participates in it at Seoul's invitation.
In his Twitter message on Tuesday, Trump boasted that his nuclear button is "much bigger" and "more powerful" than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's. The message was a direct response to Kim's New Year's speech, in which he claimed that the launch button for North Korea's nuclear weapons is "always on the desk in my office."
Lindsey Graham, who champions an ultra-hardline stance against the North, tweeted, “Allowing Kim Jong Un’s North Korea to participate in Winter Olympics would give legitimacy to the most illegitimate regime on the planet.” Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow for northeast Asia at the Heritage Foundation, told The Washington Post that the international community banned South Africa’s apartheid regime from participating in Olympics. “But in response to North Korea’s far more egregious human rights violations — which the United Nations has ruled to be ‘crimes against humanity’ — the world allows and even encourages North Korea to participate. Why the double standard?”
South Korea's Unification Ministry spokesman Baek Tae-hyun told a news briefing on Wednesday that Seoul will try to use the North's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics to make inter-Korean cooperation and communication to become a driving force behind U.S.-North Korea contacts and denuclearization talks.