South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, has encouraged Pyongyang to send a delegation to the Games, hoping their presence would help ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. He said the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics would be a good opportunity to showcase the status of the Korean nation.
Moon's comments came after a New Year's Day speech by Kim who said he was "open to dialogue" with Seoul, and for North Korean athletes to possibly take part in the Winter Games, but steadfastly declared North Korea a nuclear power.
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged oil tanker suspected of evading worldwide sanctions by trading with North Korea, officials said Sunday.
All of inter-Korean communication channels have been severed since the previous South Korean government under impeached President Park Geun-hye decided unilaterally to close down the Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to the DPRK's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.
While this is the first time Kim Jong-un has alluded to having a physical means of launching his country's nuclear weapons in his office - most likely to predetermined targets in the Northeast Asia and the continental United States - the fundamental nuclear command-and-control message from North Korea remains unchanged since 2013.
Beyond his talk of a "nuclear button", Kim Jong-un's most diplomatically significant remark in the address concerned inter-Korean relations.
The ship can carry 5,100 tons of oil and has a crew mostly from China and Myanmar, it was reported, adding that South Korea's intelligence and customs officials are conducting a joint probe into the vessel.
Choi met North Korean sports official Mun Woong in China on December 18 on the sidelines of a worldwide youth football tournament where North and South Korea soccer teams competed, the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper reported.
North Korea would focus in 2018 on "mass-producing nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles for operational deployment".
Possible inter-Korean talks could provide a temporary thaw in strained inter-Korean ties, but could also weaken USA -led worldwide pressure on the North.
"Officials from the two Koreas may urgently meet to discuss the possibility", Kim said.
"The entire United States is within range of our nuclear weapons, and a nuclear button is always on my desk".