South Korean President Moon Jae-in credits U.S. President Donald Trump for helping to spark the first inter-Korean talks in more than two years, and warns that Pyongyang would face stronger sanctions if provocations continued.
A surprising approval for Donald Trump's hard line on North Korea from the South.
President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday (January 10) Trump's "fire and fury" threats for Kim Jong Un might have done its job.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREA'S PRESIDENT, MOON JAE-IN, SAYING:
"I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing the inter-Korean talks."
The two Koreas held talks on Tuesday (January 9) for the first time in more than two years, where the North agreed to hold military talks with the South and send a large delegation to the Winter Olympics next month.
Washington raised concerns the talks were a ploy to drive a wedge between itself and Seoul, but on Wednesday (January 10) Moon said his government takes the same view as the U.S. on how to respond to the North's threats and warned Pyongyang could face even tougher sanctions if provocations continue.
The North, for its part, made it clear in talks:
its weapons program isn't up for discussion, but any South Korean worried about missiles can relax.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE FOR THE PEACEFUL REUNIFICATION OF THE FATHERLAND, RI SON GWON, SAYING:
"Regarding the nuclear issues, our strategic weapons including the atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, and intercontinental ballistic missiles are only aimed at the United States, not our brethren."
Still, Washington welcomed Tuesday's (January 9) talks as a first step towards solving the nuclear crisis and the U.S. State Department said it would even be interested in joining future talks.
There may be opportunity for that.
More talks are slated for the two Koreas before the Pyeongchang Olympics next month.