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People watch a television news screen showing a picture of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un delivering a statement in Pyongyang. Photo: Jung Yeon-je / AFP / Getty Images

South Korea has proposed high-level talks with North Korea next week in the border town, Panmunjom. This comes after Kim Jong-un suggested in his New Year's Day speech that the two countries "urgently meet," per the NYT. The key topics up for discussion: military exercises and the Olympics.

Why it matters: It would be the first official dialogue between the two countries since South Korean President Moon Jae-in took office last year. Moon has been pushing for talks, whereas Trump's approach has been to keep a military option on the table.

  • The North and South used to communicate through a telephone hotline in Panmunjom, until 2016 when former South Korean president Park Geun-hye shut it down. The South's point man for North Korean relations recommended this week that the countries reopen that line.

What Kim said: He suggested Monday that his country send a delegation of athletes to participate in the winter Olympics, which will be hosted this February in South Korea.

  • Picture this: North Korean athletes traveling across the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries. It would be quite the symbolism to mark the outset of 2018 after a year of tensions ratcheting up over potential conflict on the Korean peninsula.
  • The two countries marched together at the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Athens Olympics and of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the same year they held their first summit meeting.
  • Kim also touted the DPRK's nuclear capabilities and suggested the two countries build peace. "Above all, we must ease the acute military tensions between the North and the South…The North and the South should no longer do anything that would aggravate the situation," Kim said.
  • He also suggested South Korea and the U.S. end their joint military drills, which the North interprets as preparation for invasion. This could potentially add tension to the South's relationship with the U.S., per the NYT.

Trump weighed in, pointing out that the North's interest in talking is "Perhaps…good news, perhaps not – we will see!"

Go deeper with the NYT's Choe Sang-hun

Go deeper

Biden taps Brian Deese to lead National Economic Council

Brian Deese (L) in 2015 with special envoy for climate change Todd Stern (C) and Secretary of State John Kerry (R). Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has selected Brian Deese, a former Obama climate aide and head of sustainable investing at BlackRock, to serve as director of the National Economic Council.

Why it matters: The influential position does not require Senate confirmation, but Deese's time working for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager and an investor in fossil fuels, has made him a target of criticism from progressives.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
28 mins ago - Economy & Business

The places regulation does not reach

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Financial regulation is not exactly simple anywhere in the world. But one country stands out for the sheer amount of complexity and confusion in its regulatory regime — the U.S.

Why it matters: Important companies fall through the cracks, largely unregulated, while others contend with a vast array of regulatory bodies, none of which are remotely predictable.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Boeing gets huge 737 Max order from Ryanair, boosting hope for quick rebound

Ryanair low cost airline Boeing 737-800 aircraft as seen over the runway. Photo by Nik Oiko/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dublin-based Ryanair said it would add 75 more planes to an existing order for Boeing's 737 Max airplanes, a giant vote of confidence as Boeing seeks to revive sales of its best-selling plane after a 20-month safety ban following two fatal crashes.

The big picture: Ryanair's big order, on the heels of breakthrough vaccine news, is also a promising sign that the devastated airline industry might recover from the global pandemic sooner than expected.