High-level Seoul officials to head to North Korea for talks

Moon's Envoy to Deliver President's Determination for Denuclearization

"As far as the risk of dealing with a madman is concerned, that's his problem, not mine", Trump said.

"The U.S.is taking preposterous action by continuing to trumpet an insistence that it will not have dialogue unless a right condition is met and that it will keep watching if we have intention to abandon nuclear weapons and missiles and so on", the foreign ministry said.

Now he has the hard job of playing interlocutor between a North Korean regime steadfastly clinging to its nuclear weapons program - which it sees as the only way to ensure the survival of its regime - and an administration in Washington that believes Pyongyang's development of a long-range ballistic missile potentially capable of hitting the U.S. homeland with a nuclear warhead constitutes an unacceptable risk. "We will be meeting, and we will see if anything positive happens".

Regarding South Korea's dispatch of special envoys to North Korea, the U.S. State Department said Sunday that the U.S. and South Korea will work together through the maximum pressure campaign to ensure progress in inter-Korean relations is accompanied by advances towards denuclearization.

But some progress appeared in sight.

The U.S. recently ordered new sanctions against North Korea and warned of a potential military blockade to deny access to materials that could be used for missiles. He said he'll push for "in-depth" talks to find ways to help arrange the restart of dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

The delegation hopes to speak with North Korean officials on starting dialogue between the North and the United States as well as other countries, he added.

That signal appeared to get through to Pyongyang.

Thawing relations between North and South Korea have prompted speculation of future direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang after months of tension and exchanges of insults between Trump and the North Korean leader that have fueled fears of war.

During a phone call on Thursday, Moon told Trump of his plan to send a special envoy to North Korea in response to an invitation from leader Kim Jong Un.

In October after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed in Beijing that the United States had "lines of communication", but posted on Twitter: "I told Rex Tillerson, our wonderful Secretary of State, that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man".

Pyongyang has since sent athletes to participate in the Olympics, as well as a high-ranking delegation that included Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong.

They had been delayed until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympic games in South Korea.

South Korea's national security director will lead the 10-member delegation, The Associated Press reported.

North Korea surprised USA intelligence officials previous year by making rapid advances in its weapons programs.

A year ago was characterised by an escalation of tensions as Kim Jong-un's regime proceeded with nuclear and weapons tests, including the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile with the apparent capability to reach the U.S. mainland.

After the visit to North Korea the envoys will travel to the United States to brief officials, and Seoul said it would also coordinate closely with officials in Japan and China.

The Trump administration has tried to push China and Russian Federation to further cut trade with North Korea, pressured other countries to cut diplomatic ties with Pyongyang, and added new banking and human rights sanctions against Kim's government.

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