SEOUL - The Republic of Korea"s presidential office on Monday welcomed the New Year address by Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People"s Republic of Korea, as Kim showed his willingness to talk with Seoul about the DPRK"s possible participation in the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympics.
Presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun told a news conference that the Blue House welcomed Kim"s speech in which he stressed the need to improve inter-Korean relations and expressed his willingness to send a delegation to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The spokesman said that if the Pyeongchang Olympics are held successfully, it will contribute to peace and harmony on the Korean Peninsula as well as in Northeast Asia and the world.
The Blue House, he said, had agreed to talk with the DPRK, regardless of the timing, venue and dialogue form, if the issues are related to restoring inter-Korean relations and peace on the peninsula.
The spokesman said Seoul wished to find solutions with Pyongyang on the inter-Korean issues while peacefully resolving the DPRK"s nuclear issue in close cooperation with the international community.
The comments came after Kim said in his address earlier in the day that the DPRK will take necessary measures to prepare to participate in the winter sports event, including talks with the ROK about the DPRK"s participation.
The top DPRK leader said the two sides should reduce the highly tense military confrontation to create a peaceful environment for reconciliation.
The Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games were scheduled to kick off in February in the ROK.
Meanwhile, faced with a series of sanctions and mounting pressure on the peninsula, Kim in his speech also threatened that the DPRK is capable of striking the United States with nuclear weapons at any moment.
"The push button of nuclear weapons is on my desk," he said.