North Korea: Trump's 'nuclear button' tweet the 'spasm of a lunatic'

Mark Wilson  Getty Images

Mark Wilson Getty Images

And now as regards the good things.

Asked whether the escalating rhetoric between Trump and Kim risks triggering a nuclear catastrophe, Tillerson's Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland, emphasized that blame for the tensions lies squarely with the North Korean regime.

A summary of the commentary by North Korea's official news agency described the tweet as "the spasm of a lunatic". "Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea".

"There are open channels, but I would prefer not to comment", he said.

However, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was suspicious. In his New Year's day speech this month, Kim declared that the global community would have to accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.

"I think the worldwide sanction regime should be much wider and more profound and more pronounced, and bring far greater pressure to bear on the North Koreans".

For the first time in more than two years, Pyongyang has made peace overtures to the South in recent weeks by holding formal talks and re-establishing a military hotline.

North Korea agreed to send a delegation to the February 9-25 Winter Olympics in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang and hold military talks aimed at reducing frontline animosities.

Seoul's Unification Ministry says the North's orchestra dispatch was part of agreements the two Koreas reached during Monday's talks on Olympic cooperation.

Russian Federation today warned at the UN Security Council that the collapse of the Iranian nuclear deal would send an "alarming" message to the world and compromise efforts to persuade North Korea to scrap its nuclear arsenal. He added that in any negotiations process that has taken place in the world, the partners had to be willing, and in this case, North Korea is not.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said she hoped the dialogue would continue well beyond the Olympics, but stressed that existing sanctions must be applied more rigorously. Kim said the Olympics could provide a reason for officials from the neighbours "to meet in the near future".

The American government is boosting its maximum pressure campaign against Pyongyang at an worldwide meeting that is set to happen on Tuesday this week despite not having sent letters of invitation to Russian Federation and China. The main venues for the Games are just 80 kilometres from the heavily fortified border.

Foreign ministers from around 20 nations gather on Tuesday to discuss how to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions through diplomatic and financial pressure, but China, seen as a key player in any long-term solution, will be absent.

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