In a New Year's Day speech, North Korea's young leader, Kim Jong Un, said he was willing to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, while also announcing he has a "nuclear button" on his desk that could launch an atomic bomb at any location in the mainland United States.
The Trump administration has agreed to delay joint military exercises with South Korea until after the Olympics. "He understands that", Trump told reporters Saturday.
The two Koreas are planning to hold their first official dialogue in more than two years to discuss the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.
On Dec. 27, a task force under the South Korean foreign minister said in a report that the previous government of Park Geun Hye failed to sufficiently consult former comfort women before agreeing to the deal with Japan. The agenda is expected to focus on North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang games that will run from February 9 to February 25.
"The entire process of past North-South relations shows that efforts to improve bilateral ties can come to fruition only when the two sides work together based upon cooperation among Korean people", said the article published by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Pyongyang's chief delegate Ri Son Gwon has a similar role as head of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification of Korea.
A veteran negotiator in inter-Korean affairs, he has participated in talks with North Korea since the 1990s, including their last summit in 2007.
"The IOC will at very short notice continue its talks with all the parties concerned so that we can take the necessary decisions about participation and the format of any participation in due time", the IOC spokesman said.
The drills' suspension is something that South Korea can not accept in consideration of its relations with the US, its main ally, which is seeking increased pressure and sanctions on the North.
But US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that there was "no turnaround" in the US stance, reiterating that the North must stop nuclear tests for talks with Washington.
As well as the Olympics, the two sides could bring up their own priority issues, which analysts say will be much more challenging. Ri is known as a close associate of senior Workers' Party official Kim Yong Chol, who Seoul officials believe was behind two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans.
The government of liberal President Moon Jae-in has expressed hope that the North's participation will ease tensions on the divided peninsula, which have flared up due to North Korea's nuclear and missile provocations.