United Nations chief plans to attend Olympic opening ceremony in PyeongChang

Although the discussions, the first in two years, are a positive step in warming relations between the two countries, Japan in particular has warned against falling for North Korea's "charm offensive". "The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialog could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working".

He added that the US has sent "clear messages" to North Korea that they are "ready for serious negotiations", but the regime must pause its nuclear and ballistic missile tests - what Tillerson called an "indicator of whether the regime is truly ready to pursue a peaceful diplomatic solution to the security threat that it has created".

If North Korea does not choose to negotiate on giving up its nuclear weapons, it could trigger a military response from the United States, it has been warned.

The minister emphasized that the Seoul government will remain committed to working together with the worldwide community to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free.

Seoul has long sought to proclaim the event a "peace Olympics" in the face of tensions over the North's weapons programmes - which have seen it subjected to multiple UN Security Council sanctions - and the discussions represent a marked improvement.

However, he said the threat posed by North Korea was growing.

The sentiment was echoed by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who urged the worldwide community not to ease up on North Korea despite its recent cooperation with the South. Command that supported South Korea in the fight against the communist North and its allies during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Previous year the nuclear-armed North tested missiles capable of reaching its "enemy" the US and Kim traded threats of war with US President Donald Trump. "The object of negotiations, if and when we get there, is complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea". President Donald Trump recently tweeted that China had been caught "red handed" allowing oil to go into North Korea. More talks were held Wednesday in the border village of Panmunjom and officials reportedly agreed that the North would send a 230-member cheering section to the Games.

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South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said she hoped the dialogue would continue well beyond the Olympics, but stressed that existing sanctions must be applied more rigorously.

He says the gathering of like-minded nations sends Kim Jong Un a unified message: "We will not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea".

Even so, they say debate within the US administration over whether to give more active consideration to military options, such as a pre-emptive strike on a North Korean nuclear or missile site, has lost momentum ahead of the Olympics.

His remarks came at a Vancouver meeting of 20 nations seeking ways to increase pressure on North Korea.

The US Air Force said the deployment is part of the US military's effort to maintain a "continuous bomber presence" in the Pacific, but the B-52s are replacing B-1 Lancers, bombers that are not created to carry nuclear weapons. "While it welcomed the dialogue that has begun between North Korea and South Korea, all agreed that maximum pressure needs to be applied to the regime".

Washington has rejected Beijing's suggestion that the USA and South Korea stop joint military exercises directed at North Korea, in exchange for an end to the nuclear program.

One area where diplomats hope to make progress Tuesday is with maritime interdiction: efforts to disrupt the flow of smuggled goods into North Korea in violation of the United Nations sanctions regime.

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