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Sanctions and ‘other’ pressures having ‘big impact’ on North Korea: US President Donald Trump

People watch a television screen showing pictures of President (C) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) at a railway station in Seoul on November 29, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump has claimed that sanctions on North Korea are “beginning to have a big impact” after Pyongyang proposed talks with South Korea. 
“Sanctions and ‘other’ pressures are beginning to have a big impact on North Korea. Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
“Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!”  Trump said regarding a possible dialogue between the neighbors.
Trump’s comments came after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un began the New Year by wishing success for the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea and suggested that the North may send a delegation to participate.
“The Winter Olympic Games that will be held soon in the South will be a good opportunity to display the status of the Korean nation and we sincerely wish that the event will be held with good results,” Kim said in a speech.
In a stern warning Kim said that the entire is within the range of the country’s nuclear weapons and that the “nuclear button” is always on his desk.
“It’s reality, not a threat, that the nuclear button is always on my desk,” he said during a speech. “The entire area of the U.S. mainland is within our nuclear strike range…. can never start a war against me and our country.”
“We need to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles and accelerate their deployment,” he added.
A day earlier, former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton dismissed Kim’s talk of having a nuclear launch button ready as nothing more than “propaganda.”
“Well, look it is propaganda from Kim Jung Un,” Bolton said. “This is his regular New Year’s speech. And obviously he has seen the conversation in the United States that looks at possible preemptive military force — not as the most attractive option. But it’s an option we definitely have to use if they don’t give up their nuclear weapons program,” Bolton said.
Bolton emphasized that the US president “has very little time left to make a decision what to do or face a future where North Korea has nuclear weapons.”
Prior to the holidays, the UN Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Friday over Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear weapons development program. The new sanctions restrict fuel exports to the country and demand the repatriation of North Koreans working aboard, mostly in China and Russia.
North Korea said the latest round of sanctions imposed by the United Nations against Pyongyang constitutes an “act of war” against the country.
Pyongyang has repeatedly defended its weapons program as being defensive in nature and a deterrent against potential hostility by foreign powers.