Winter Games: DPRK doubts South Korea's proposal for joint team

Moon has expressed a desire to use the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Olympics to reach out to North Korea, with relations between the two at their lowest point in decades.

Do Jong-hwan, South Korea's newly appointed sports minister, said last week he would ask Chang for his support in securing North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Olympics, which kicks off in February 2018.

North Korea has vowed to continue developing its defensive capabilities amid the reclusive country's concerns the USA and South Korea will start a war.

North and South Korea are technically still at war since the 1950-53 Korean War, ended with an armistice that has not been replaced with a peace treaty. North Korea has accused the US of escalating tensions with its actions and refers to its own missile launch tests as measures to safeguard its country, while Washington believes the joint military drills with Seoul are important to safeguard against any North Korean threat.

Lee said the North "should stop developing missile and nuclear programmes and come out on to the path of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula".

Lee urged North Korea to denuclearize and follow inter-Korean declarations of peace and prosperity.

The comments published by the agency were North Korea's first reaction to Otto Warmbier's death in a US hospital Monday after it released him for what it called humanitarian reasons.

South Korea "better learn history again", the article read, adding it was "foolish" to place North Korean denuclearization as a premise to improvement in inter-Korean relations.

North Korea has been conducting missile launches, amid increasing tensions in the Korean Peninsula despite receiving tough sanctions and warnings from the United Nations. Pyongyang blamed Washington's hawkish North Korea policy for its development of nuclear weapons.

Through statements on KCNA, North Korea said it dealt with him according to its domestic laws and worldwide standards.

  • Larry Hoffman