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South Korea and the USA have been in close consultation over the rare cross-border talks proposed for Tuesday, and the allies are "synced up very well", department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un opened the way for talks with South Korea in his New Year's Day speech, calling for reduced tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Ribbons bearing messages wishing for unification between the two Koreas hang on a barbed-wire fence near the militarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, December 21, 2017.

It was a 180-degree turnaround for the North, which has long ignored South Korean President Moon Jae-In's efforts to engage it. -South Korean military exercises Foal Eagle and Key Resolve, which usually take place in the February-March timeframe, until after the Winter Olympics and the Paralympics, which conclude on March 18.

"Sure, I always believe in talking", he said. They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons. "Because there are so many practical matters to deal with, such as putting together a support team and a team of people to attend the reunions, we're hesitant to jump to conclusions about whether or not an agreement can be reached during the meeting".

The meeting could be a "vehicle through which they would like to tell us that they would like to have some discussions", the AP quoted Tillerson as saying.

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North Korea says its weapons are necessary to counter USA aggression, and it regularly threatens to destroy the United States and its two key Asia allies, Japan and South Korea.

If North Korea had the nuclear capacity to strike the United States mainland - e.g., New York, Washington, D.C., etc. - it could deter the United States from being involved when North Korea attempts to unite South Korea under the regime of North Korea, which is one of North Korea's primary goals.

Sceptics say Kim is trying to drive a wedge between the allies - the USA has 28,500 troops stationed in the South to defend it from the North - at a time when the worldwide community should remain united in putting pressure and sanctions on the North over its weapons programmes.

The developments have raised hopes that progress can be made toward broader negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, though significant barriers remain.

Earlier this week, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said Washington had heard reports that Pyongyang might be preparing to fire another missile. This is why South Korea must keep a rock-solid USA alliance. The scope and extent of improving inter-Korean relations will apparently be determined during the talks themselves. "The tweet follows the North Korean leader's remarks in a New Year's Day address that "(t) he entire mainland of the United States is within the range of our nuclear weapons".