US-North Korea talks may precede inter-Korean dialogue in April — Seoul

"The dinner proceeded in a warm atmosphere overflowing with compatriotic feelings", the North's Korean Central News Agency said in a report, one of several that mentioned the Koreans' shared blood - and implied they were united together against the outside world.

Under US law, when a country or leader violates its ban on chemical and biological weapons, an import ban is imposed on its products, but North Korea is already under severe US and UN sanctions, and Tuesday's decision will have little impact.

Seoul earlier announced the two Koreas would hold a historic summit in the Demilitarized Zone next month - and that the North's leader Kim Jong Un was ready to halt provocative missile and nuclear tests and sit down with its old "imperialist" enemy.

"The United States has maintained that the term 'denuclearization' is needed for talks and it appears the North has responded to that", he said.

"What we must especially pay attention to is the fact that (he) has clearly stated that the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula was an instruction of his predecessor and that there has been no change to such an instruction".

"The US should give up its fantasy of bringing North Korea to its knees".

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, added "it's good for everybody to keep some perspective and take a deep breath".

North Korea has conducted six nuclear weapons tests and pushed ahead on trying to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles that, if mated to a nuclear warhead, could threaten the U.S. mainland.

Next month, North Korea and South Korea will have the first meeting between their leaders since 2007 at the border village of Panmunjom, said Chung Eui-yong, head of the South Korean delegation.

On multiple occasions, Kim's father Kim Jong-Il dangled the prospect of talks and denuclearization as a means of buying time, easing sanctions and dividing South Korea from its allies.

"I don't want to talk so much about things that we don't know yet", he said, holding out for clarity about a seemingly enticing offer from Pyongyang.

Previous US talks with North Korea have come to nothing and there has been no comment from Pyongyang itself.

Kim Jong Un knows that the only thing guaranteeing his regime's survival is his nuclear weapons - and that the only thing guaranteeing his destruction is using them. "It is necessary to be extremely accurate in this situation and not to engage in provocations that would throw the situation back", the Russian diplomat said.

TERRY: It's a pretty big deal, although I would caution also against going overly, you know, this sort of expectation that this is going to lead to a resolution anytime soon.

The recent rapprochement between the two Koreas followed the resumption of inter-Korean dialogue to discuss the North's participation in the Winter Olympic Games. The Trump administration has also said that, if necessary, it is prepared to use military force as well to eliminate the nuclear threat. "Even then, North Korea was faking a peace offensive and developing nukes". The North didn't confirm those concessions, which would amount to a dramatic about-face for a nation that has frequently vowed to preserve its nuclear arsenal at any cost. Before they meet, the leaders will start working-level talks and install a hotline so that they can contact each other directly. Kim Yo Jong's visit to the South was the first by a member of the North's ruling dynasty since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. They understand it is unlikely that Kim will give up his nuclear weapons, and while they value the US alliance, they also share a common interest with the North - the prevention of a US attack. That could mean the plumes were unrelated to reactor operations, or that the discharge pipeline had been extended into the nearby river in an attempt to disguise activity. And presumably continuing to perfect its missile and [nuclear technology] all the while.

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