Second ship 'broke oil sanctions on Kim'

S. Korean President Moon Jae-in

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korean authorities have seized a Panama-flagged oil tanker suspected of evading global sanctions by trading with North Korea, officials said Sunday.

Kim, wearing a Western-style grey suit and tie, said in his customary annual address his country had achieved the historic feat of "completing" its nuclear forces and added he has a nuclear button on his desk.

"An improvement in inter-Korean relations may not go a separate way from (efforts) to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, so I ask the foreign ministry to closely consult with our allies and the global community so that we may push for an improvement in inter-Korean relationship and the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue at the same time", he said. "They should accurately be aware that this is not a threat but a reality", Kim said.

The United Nations Security Council last month approved its strongest sanctions yet on North Korea - a move that Pyongyang described as an "act of war". He said North Korea's nuclear deterrent was "irreversible" and that it would prevent Trump from starting a war.

Cho anticipated that the two Koreas would frankly discuss issues of mutual concern to improve inter-Korean relations as well as the issue on the DPRK's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang in February.

But Park did not refer to Kim's order to mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, as well as speeding up their deployment.

Kim's January 1 speeches have previously set the direction for tensions on the Korean peninsula. South Korea assessed that the most recent launch in late November of a new ICBM - its largest yet - could potentially reach Washington, though additional analysis was needed to determine whether it was capable of re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. The North was subsequently hit with toughened United Nations sanctions, and Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump exchanged warlike rhetoric and crude personal insults against each other.

Even so, Trump has also floated the idea of friendship with Kim on occasion, and has called on him to "make a deal" on North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

But he reiterated his demand that the South Korean government stop holding joint military exercises with the USA and stop bringing in US weapons.

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