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    North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un speaking during a New Year's Day speech. | Photo: KCNA via Reuters

Published 1 January 2018

Kim called on “both the North and the South” to make efforts to “lower military tensions on the Korean Peninsula."

Leadership in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, or North Korea, has said that it is looking to discuss with Seoul over its participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics which will be held in South Korea.

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“North Korea’s participation in the Winter Games will be a good opportunity to showcase the national pride and we wish the Games will be a success,” Kim Jong-un said.

The remarks came during Kim Jong-un's annual New Year speech, in which he said that 2018 will be a year of reconciliation.

"This year is a year of significance for both the north and the south of Korea as our people will celebrate the 70th birthday of the DPRK as a great auspicious event and there will be the Winter Olympic Games in the south," he said.

"In order to host the great events of the nation with splendor and demonstrate the dignity and stamina of the nation, we should melt the frozen north-south relations, thus adorning this meaningful year as a year to be specially recorded in the history of the nation.”

Kim called on “both the North and the South” to make efforts to “lower military tensions on the Korean Peninsula to create a peaceful environment.”

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South Korean officials have welcomed Kim's remarks and said they are willing to sit down for talks.

Kim also used the speech to declare North Korea a “peace-loving and responsible nuclear power.”

He offered a warning to the United States however, who he said will never be able to fight a war against them.

“It (United States) should properly know that the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike and a nuclear button is always on the desk of my office and this is just a reality, not a threat," Kim said.

The end of year remarks strike a conciliatory tone after a volatile 2017, with the United States escalating aggressive rhetoric toward the DPRK and holding massive military drills off its coast, while the North has engaged in several ballistic missile tests and demonstrated itself as a nuclear power.

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