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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

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

3 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.