Trump hopes Korea talks go 'beyond the Olympics'

Trump calls that "a big start".

"The priority will be discussions over North Korea's possible participation in the PyeongChang Olympics and the Paralympics", he said.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, says it is "good for the United States" that North and South Korea are set to engage in high-level talks, but warned Pyongyang's nuclear weapons ambitions still pose a serious threat to the world.

South Korea will announce Tuesday its position on a deal with Japan over "comfort women" forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, the Foreign Ministry said, an agreement meant to "finally and irreversibly" settle the issue when adopted two years ago.

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If the North agrees, one of the top agenda items will be whether the two Koreas' sportspeople make joint entrances to the opening and closing ceremonies, as they did for Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and the 2006 Winter Games in Torino.

It needs to receive an additional quota to compete, and its International Olympic Committee representative, Chang Ung, headed to Switzerland over the weekend for talks with IOC officials, according to Japanese media.

But North Korea, which is weak in winter sports, now has no athletes qualified to participate in the Pyeonghang Games.

President Trump said that he was open to direct talks with the North Korea regime, adding "But we have a very firm stance". But North Korea could demand some rewards in exchange for those steps, such as the revival of stalled cooperation projects that are lucrative for the North or the suspensions of annual U.S. North Korea has not responded to Seoul's offer. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis insisted the move was a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics and was not a political gesture.

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Analysts say the Moon administration is trying to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula through the talks. The North's chief negotiator is Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of North Korea's state agency in charge of affairs with the South.

Hayley stressed during the interview that USA tension with North Korea is a "serious situation, and [Kim] can't sit there and imply that he's going to destroy the United States without us reminding him of the facts and the reality that if you go there, it's not us that's going to be detroyed, it's you". Ri is known as a close associate of senior Workers' Party official Kim Yong Chol, who Seoul officials believe was behind two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans.

This photo, taken January 8, 2018, shows Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

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