US-North Korea talks may precede inter-Korean dialogue in April — Seoul

The broadest gauge of shares, MSCI's All Country World Index, rose 0.7 percent.

However South Korean president Moon Jae-in downplayed optimism over Pyongyang's offer. He also promised to freeze nuclear missile tests during the dialogue, the South Korean official said. He also indicated he's agreeable to a summit between the two Koreas at the end of April.

The president's threat to withdraw certification of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran unless it gets strengthened by May is another high stakes play, according to Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, a New York-based risk consultancy. That could mean the plumes were unrelated to reactor operations, or that the discharge pipeline had been extended into the nearby river in an attempt to disguise activity. It is impossible for Seoul to arbitrarily ease the pressure. About 28,500 U.S. servicemembers are stationed in the South.

From North Korea's sudden desire to negotiate we are learning that President Donald Trump's policy of severe sanctions is having a significant and desired impact.

Fear of U.S. disengagement under Trump does appear to have helped revive some long-stalled initiatives to consolidate European military capabilities and procurement. Chairman Hong Joon-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, Chairman Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Mirae Party, Chairwoman Cho Bae-sook of the Party for Democracy and Peace and Justice Party Chairwoman Lee Jeong-mi also attended the meeting.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, second left, meets members of South Korean delegation headed by National Security Director Chung Eui-yong, in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 5, 2018.

Trump, who has publicly traded jabs with Kim in the last year, took to Twitter on Tuesday to comment on the developments. Washington pledged food aid in return.

"The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the United States", the statement continued.

Q. Should the United States trust North Korea?

That said, North Korea has a warped view of "security guarantees". I think there's a very symbolic significance that goes with this meeting.

Are the North Korean leaders serious?

But there is reason for skepticism.

"The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the United States on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations with the United States", a South Korean statement read, according to the state-run news agency of the South Korean government, Yonhap. It was around the same time that it launched its nuclear weapons program. But, does all this ultimately lessen the chances of a war, or, paradoxically, just the opposite?

Kim Jong Un shakes hands with South Korean chief delegator Chung Eui-yong
KCNA via KNS /STR AFP Getty Images

Chung spoke to reporters after leading a 10-person delegation to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Koreans understand the international system well. Kim Jong-il, the leader in Pyongyang at the time (and the father of current leader Kim Jong-un), appeared suddenly friendly. "And I said, 'So would we, but you have to denuke'". "I seriously doubt it", the president's intelligence chief, Dan Coats, told a Senate hearing. Their conventional military capabilities are far inferior to that of their enemy.

"We have come a long way at least rhetorically with North Korea", Trump said. "I want to see what happens". Even more striking is the macabre fate of Libya's strongman Muammar Gaddafi. The assurance was forthcoming. So he went ahead and dismantled his nuclear project.

Gaddafi lacked a realist vision. But he can be forgiven for that.

Perched in the Oval Office, the 71-year-old president was uncharacteristically cautious.

Gaddafi's logic may sound reasonable to many.

Trump had earlier welcomed progress in inter-Korean talks on his Twitter page.

Why Korea's latest offer defies realist logic? "Me", he joked, before crediting US-led sanctions that, with China's help, are punishing North Korea's economy.

The answer turns out to be: neither. Herein lies the problem.

Kim has made atomic weapons a core part of North Korea's political identity. That's exactly what Gaddafi had sought and got until 2011.

That's a seemingly significant about-face from mere months ago, when North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was threatening "thousands-fold" vengeance, "Armageddon" and vowing to annihilate the U.S. down to "the last man on this planet".

The two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese national, are currently on trial in Malaysia where they are accused of using a nerve agent to murder Kim Jong Nam, who lived in exile in China and was seen as a potential rival to his younger half-brother.

"We cannot have things like the prevention of nuclear proliferation or a moratorium as a final goal", said Moon.