North Korean Leader Offers Both Belligerence and Peacefulness in New Year’s Address


North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un offered both a threat and an olive branch in a New Year’s speech that left many wondering whether there was an opening for diplomacy in that troubled part of the world.  In a televised speech, Jong-Un said that a nuclear-launch button is always on his table, and added that the entire US was within range of North Korea’s nuclear weapons.  “This is reality, not a threat,” he said.

But he also seemed to be opening the door to diplomatic talks as he said, “we should melt the frozen North-South relations, thus adorning this meaningful year as a year to be specially recorded in the history of the nation.”  He was referring to 2018, which marks the 70th anniversary of the birth of North Korea and the year in which South Korea will host the Winter Olympics.  Jong-Un also said he is open to the possibility of sending a delegation to the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which are to be held in February.

South Korea has welcomed any overture for dialogue with North Korea.  A spokesperson for the South Korean president said that the South has “always stated our willingness to talk with North Korea at anytime and anywhere.”  Olympic organizers also expressed receptiveness to North Korea’s participation in the Olympics.  “[The Olympic committee] enthusiastically welcomes it.  It’s like a New Year’s gift,” said, the president of the South Korean Olympic organizing committee.

Join the discussion