Kim Jong Un extends olive branch to ROK, threatens US

World Today

Visitors walk by a TV screen showing a TV news program reporting about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s speech, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. The letters read on top left, “Kim Jong Un delivers New Year’s speech.” Kim said the United States should be aware that his country’s nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A New Year’s Day message from Pyongyang to Washington warns about the reach of its nuclear arsenal.

But the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also offered room for diplomacy to avoid war. CGTN’s Sean Callebs explains the details of Kim Jong Un’s speech.

The New Year started with the leader of the DPRK, extending an olive branch of sorts to his southern neighbor, saying he is open to talking with the Republic of Korea about sending athletes to the upcoming winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Kim Jong Un said that the two Koreas are “bound by blood” and offered hope to South Korea that its duties as host of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games will be successful.

The DPRK leader said the two sides should come together, and try to find a peaceful solution to the highly charged situation on the Korean Peninsula.

The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in has indicated he’d be willing to talk anytime, anywhere in the effort to normalize relations.

While, Kim Jong Un’s conciliatory remarks were welcomed in the south, he had a harsher message for the United States as the DPRK faces punishing United Nation’s sanctions, and large scale U.S. military drills in the region.

The DPRK has repeatedly launched test missiles and reported success in nuclear tests over the past year, drawing worldwide ire and harsh criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump. The DPRK vows to continue its work to further develop nuclear weapons this year.

China is among the nations urging the DPRK to halt its weapons program and encouraging the U.S. to stop military maneuvers off the DPRK coast, in an effort to bring both nations to the negotiating table and in the hope of creating a nuclear free peninsula.

This past weekend, a former Chair of the US Joint Chiefs said the “U.S. is closer” than ever to a nuclear war with the DPRK.