Following Kim Jong Un’s annual New Year’s address — in which he declared North Korea’s nuclear arsenal ready to fly at any moment and mentioned a “nuclear button” on his desk — President Trump fired back while bragging that he too had a nuclear button on his desk, but it was actually bigger and functional. However and as much as Trump weighs in on everything, it appears that North and South Korea are attempting diplomacy without the U.S.’ assistance.
According to NBC News, South Korea is optimistic that talks with North Korea will talk place prior to the Olympic Games scheduled for Pyeongchang in February after Kim expressed hope that North Korea would send its athletes across the border to compete. It’s not known how another missile test by North Korea would affect any talks or participation in the Olympics.
Another reason for South Korean optimism? North Korea re-opened a diplomatic channel that had gone unused for over two years. On Wednesday, the two sides spoke twice via a direct communication hotline in what could be a precursor to future talks, although the subject was not broached — the first call was to establish that there were not technical issues with the hotline.
While the first call came nearly six hours after President Trump’s “button” tweet, CNN reports that the call and the tweet are likely not connected (but he may take credit anyway).