United States diplomat: Talks require long halt of weapons tests by North Korea

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017. Technically, South Korea and the United States remain at war with North Korea after the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

President Trump refused to say whether he has spoken directly with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an interview on Thursday, but said he "probably" has "a very good relationship" with the dictator. "The difference is I'm president, other people aren't". I could give you 20 examples.

"I don't want to comment on it. I just don't want to comment".

Talks between North and South Korea ahead of next month's Winter Olympics have eased fears of war over Pyongyang's development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States - at least for now. Later, he said that attempts to talk to Kim is a waste of time, but now he is saying that he would be willing to chat with the North Korean leader on the phone.

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One U.S. official said one option would be to bomb a North Korean missile or nuclear facility based on a "high confidence" intelligence assessment that North Korea planned another test.

President Donald Trump, who's said North Korea won't be allowed to develop a nuclear missile capable of hitting the US, also said Thursday that he expects the crisis with Kim's regime to be resolved without war. Kim called the 71-year-old American president "the mentally deranged USA dotard".

Some U.S. officials have suggested that North Korea was using diplomatic overtures to try to drive a wedge between Washington and ally Seoul and did not intend to engage seriously. It has, however, retained back-channel communications through the North's diplomatic mission at the United Nations in NY.

The images, taken on December 28, 2017 and revealed on Thursday by US-based website 38North, show that significant tunnel excavation activities were being carried out in the so-called Western Portal in Punggye-ri, in northeastern North Korea, Efe news reported.

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