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DPRK says willing to join 2018 Winter Olympics in ROK

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-02 09:34
An ice sculpture of the Olympic rings is seen during the Pyeongchang Winter Festival, near the venue for the opening and closing ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, the Republic of Korea, Feb 10, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

PYONGYANG -- The top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong-un, sent Monday a conciliatory message that Pyongyang is willing to talk with Seoul on its possible participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in the Republic of Korea (ROK).

In his New Year speech, Kim said that 2018 is an important year for the two countries on the Korean Peninsula, as the DPRK will mark the 70th anniversary of the country's founding while the ROK will host the Winter Olympics.

"This year is a year of significance for both the north and the south of Korea as our people will celebrate the 70th birthday of the DPRK as a great auspicious event and there will be the Winter Olympic Games in the south," he said.

Expressing sincere wishes for a successful Winter Olympics, Kim said that the DPRK will take necessary measures to prepare to participate in the event, including holding North-South talks on the DPRK's participation.

"In order to host the great events of the nation with splendor and demonstrate the dignity and stamina of the nation, 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," Kim said.

As neighbors, the two Koreas are "bound by blood", and "it is natural that we feel happy and provide assistance for the activities to be organized by our compatriots", he said.

The ROK has suggested that the two countries form a joint team to attend the event to be held in Pyeongchang county in February.

In his speech, Kim also said that the two sides should reduce the highly tense military confrontation to create a peaceful environment for reconciliation.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula remained volatile throughout 2017, as the DPRK test-fired several ballistic missiles, including three intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

Meanwhile, the United States conducted constantly large scale military drills in the ROK and in waters around the peninsula by sending aircraft carrier groups, strategic bombers, nuclear submarines, and other strategic assets there.

The United Nations has also four times voted for imposing new sanctions in adopting resolutions against the DPRK.

On the dangerous confrontation between the DPRK and the United States, Kim said the DPRK "should further bolster up the military capabilities for self-defense."

"The United States can never fight a war against me and our state. It should properly know that the whole territory of the US is within the range of our nuclear strike and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office and this is just a reality, not a threat," he said.

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