South Korea holds Panama oil tanker suspected of North Korea trade

South Korea holds Panama oil tanker suspected of North Korea trade

In the address, Kim celebrated the completion of North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, offered to enter conditional talks with South Korea with the offer of potentially sending a delegation to the upcoming Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, and condemned worldwide sanctions. However, Kim appeared to extend an olive branch toward South Korea, wishing it success in the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

All of inter-Korean communication channels have been severed since the previous South Korean government under impeached President Park Geun-hye decided unilaterally to close down the Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to the DPRK's fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

"We achieved the goal of completing our state nuclear force in 2017", Kim said in a speech broadcast live by state TV. "And you mentioned both Russian Federation and China and my expectation is that will continue to be the case for them, as well as Iran and North Korea".

An official from the Pyeongtaek Regional Office of Oceans and Fisheries, who also requested anonymity, confirmed that the vessel had been disallowed from leaving the port since December 21.

But he also hinted at diplomatic overtures to South Korea amid increasingly crippling sanctions.

Asked about Kim's claim that he has a nuclear button on his desk, and that the weapons can reach the US, Donald Trump said from his New Year's Eve party at Mar-a-Lago: "We'll see, we'll see". Adm. Mike Mullen, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Sunday that the United States is "closer to a nuclear war with North Korea" than ever.

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An official from South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the 5,100-ton KOTI and its crew members were being held at Pyeongtaek-Dangjin port on the country's west coast amid an inspection over supposed "North Korea-related" activity.

Despite the apparent olive branch, Kim also repeated claims that he could hit anywhere in the USA with a nuclear weapon, and called for mass production of nuclear warheads.

He said the Olympics would be "a good chance" to show the greatness of the Korean people, CNN reported.

Possible inter-Korean talks could provide a temporary thaw in strained inter-Korean ties, but could also weaken US -led global pressure on the North.

Turning to relations with South Korea, Kim said, "I sincerely hope the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics will be staged successfully".

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