CARTOON: Kim and Moon Dance on Thin Ice

CARTOON: Kim and Moon Dance on Thin Ice

Vladimir Putin has said he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has "won this round" with Donald Trump.

South Korea's President said on Wednesday he's open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if certain conditions are met, as he vowed to push for more talks and cooperation with the North to try to resolve the nuclear standoff.

But U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will co-host the Vancouver meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, has been pushing for the interception of North Korean vessels.

The U.S. president credited his tough stance for encouraging new contacts between the two Koreas, including a new agreement in which the North will send athletes to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea. US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert welcomed Tueday's Korean talks, which she said were "aimed at ensuring a safe, secure and successful" Olympics.

Asked if he had spoken with Kim, Trump was evasive: "I'm not saying I have or haven't".

White House and National Security Council officials declined to comment on whether Trump and Kim have talked.

During a telephone conversation between Trump and Moon, the South Korean leader made the request to delay the drills.

More news: Finance minister issues order in response to North Korean money-laundering fears

If the attack goes according to plan, the United States could deny North Korea the ability to research and develop its missile or nuclear programs by destroying elements of it with a kinetic strike.

In November, Trump said while on a trip to Vietnam that becoming friends with Kim "might be a unusual thing to happen but it's a possibility". "I think you people are surprised". "I don't know who Putin is".

He said the U.S. has "some problems" with North Korea, but commended recent talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime and the South Korean government.

"And you see in North Korea what's happening with North Korea all of a sudden".

The sides have agreed to hold further talks, hosted by the International Olympic Committee, on January 20.

The White House quickly shot down the proposal, saying it was not ready to start communications with North Korea because of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons tests.

"Inter-Korean talks and war drill can never be incompatible", Pyongyang's propaganda website Uriminzokkiri said in its commentary.

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