North Korea names veteran negotiator for South Korea talks

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Trump may have credited his own aggressive stance toward the crisis on the Korean Peninsula with getting South Korea and North Korea to restart talks, but the official organ of China's ruling Communist Party said Thursday that the USA leader has only made things worse.

One of the most important reasons to stay on guard against the North is its likely peace offensive aimed at fostering ideological division in the South and cracking its alliance.

Choi reportedly encouraged the North to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in February, offering to send a cruise ship to the Port of Wonsan to transport the North's athletes, cheerleaders and senior officials.

North and South Korea have agreed on the composition of the delegations which will participate in the first high-level meeting on Tuesday between the two countries after over two years, the Unification Ministry said here on Sunday.

Moon has long advocated engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table, while the U.S. has insisted that it first take concrete steps towards disarmament. The last meeting between North and South Korean officials of ministerial rank or higher occurred in August 2015, when National Security Advisor Kim Kwan-jin and Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo from South Korea and Korean People's Army General Political Bureau Chief Hwang Pyong-so and Korean Workers' Party Central Committee Secretary Kim Yang-gon from North Korea met after South Korean soldiers were maimed by a landmine that blew up near the DMZ.

South Korea and the United States have been in close consultation over the rare cross-border talks proposed for Tuesday, and the allies are "synced up very well", department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

In his New Year address, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while offering dialogue with the South, mentioned its ability to mass-produce and deploy nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles. His statement was followed by the move for North-South talks, and then the suspension of the U.S. -South Korea military exercises.

Kim and Choi Moon Soon, Mayor of Gangwon Province, the host region of the Olympics, sat down with North Korean officials last month in Kunming, China.

US President Donald Trump is yet to formally respond to the announcement of formal talks, but took to Twitter to say the scheduled talks were "a good thing".

"We're not going to let them go and dramatize the fact that they have a button right on their desk and they can destroy America", she said.

South Korea's Defence Ministry has said it had yet to see any evidence of an imminent missile launch.

Last year, the vast majority of defectors were women (83 per cent), thus maintaining the trend, as women make up 71 per cent of all North Korean defectors to the South.

The abrupt decision by South Korea and the United States to delay their joint military exercises - to which North Korea has long objected - until after the Pyeongchang Olympics is also improving the prospects for talks.

The developments have raised hopes that progress can be made toward broader negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, though significant barriers remain.