Korea's Kim can stay in power

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January 1: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says in his New Year's address that he has a nuclear button on his desk, but also calls for improved relations with the South. Trump responds that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button, "and my Button works!"

"North Korea is talking to us as if nothing happened", Trump told reporters during an extended bilateral meeting between him and NATO's Secretary General.

- North Korea has a message for U.S. President Donald Trump ahead of next month's summit: Don't listen to your new hard-line national security adviser, John Bolton.

Further, muddying the summit waters for Pyongyang was Mr. Trump's hawkish national security adviser John Bolton's role in the negotiations.

Pyongyang released three American detainees last week in a show of good faith, and President Trump praised North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for being "excellent" to the men who were imprisoned under questionable circumstances.

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The site's closure was set to come before the Kim-Trump summit, which had been shaping up as a crucial moment in the decades-long push to resolve the nuclear standoff with the North, which is closing in on the ability to viably target the mainland United States with its long-range nuclear-armed missiles. "We decimated that country".

Pompeo told Kang that Washington would continue to make preparations for the US-North Korea summit, bearing in mind the recent action by North Korea, it said.

He said he was not pursuing the "Libya model" in getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the Americas division of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), yesterday suggested yesterday the U.S. decision to use state-of-the-art B-52 bombers and F-22 stealth fighters in the ongoing Max Thunder military exercises in South Korea may also have ruffled North Korean feathers.

The Blue House intends to "sufficiently convey (to the US) what we've discerned about North Korea's position and attitude. and sufficiently convey the US' position to North Korea", thereby helping to bridge the gap between their positions, the official said. "We're working with them", Trump later reiterated during a Cabinet Room meeting with Stoltenberg and other USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation officials.

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"We have already stated our intention for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and made clear on several occasions that precondition for denuclearization is to put an end to anti-DPRK hostile policy and nuclear threats and blackmail of the United States", Mr. Kim said. "His country would be very rich; his people are tremendously industrious", Trump said. The question, he said, is whether Kim is still willing. "For example, the deadline for completing disarmament or specific language about steps North Korea has to take to achieve disarmament", he said.

The comments by Mr Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country, were the latest in a string of inflammatory statements marking a drastic change in tone after months of easing tension with plans for denuclearisation and a summit scheduled with the United States.

North Korea has said that it is willing to eventually dismantle its nuclear arsenal, but only if the USA brings its 28,500 troops home and ends its "nuclear umbrella" alliance with South Korea. The Trump administration added North Korea to the list of state sponsors in November 2017, after a nine-year "hiatus" when North Korea was off the list in October 2008, effective in 2009.

While Mr Kim has agreed to discuss "denuclearisation", he wants a phased approach and an end to Mr Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign of worldwide sanctions and military threats. It includes aircraft from across the USA military services.

South Korea's government has yet to weigh in on the suspension of talks.

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