NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBSNews) – North and South Korea could soon be ready to talk things out, ahead of the South hosting the Winter Olympics.
On Tuesday night, Trump responded to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s warning that he now has a nuclear button on his desk, tweeting, “I too have a nuclear button, but it is a much bigger and more powerful one than his, and my button works.”
When asked about the tweet, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, “the president speaks for himself. I think we have to continue, as he said, to take the threat from North Korea very seriously.”
Meanwhile, North and South Korea have a new way to communicate. A North Korean spokesperson announced on state TV that a hotline in Korea’s demilitarized zone has been restored for the first time in nearly two years.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also says he’s open to talks about allowing North Korean athletes to compete at the upcoming Winter Games.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he’s open to meeting with the North, without any preconditions.
The White House is opposed to talks unless the North first abandons its nuclear program.
“Kim Jong Un may be trying to drive a wedge of some sort between the two nations, between our nation and the Republic of Korea. I can assure you that will not happen,” said State Department spokesperson Heath Nauert.
The United States says it will not oppose the talks but doubts Kim Jon Un’s sincerity. Pentagon officials say there’s evidence North Korea is preparing for another test of its intercontinental ballistic missiles.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley says the U.S. could seek even more sanctions against North Korea if it goes through with another missile test.