- Associated Press - Thursday, January 4, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump and the Korean Peninsula (all times local):

12:59 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have agreed to “de-conflict the Olympics and our military exercises” so that the countries “can focus on ensuring the security of the Games.”

In a statement, the White House said Trump spoke with Moon on Thursday. The Pentagon had announced the plans to delay joint military exercises earlier in the day.

The statement says the leaders “agreed to continue the campaign of maximum pressure against North Korea and to not repeat mistakes of the past” and that both countries are “committed to a safe and successful 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.”

Trump also told Moon that the United States will send “a high-level delegation to the Olympics.”

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10:20 a.m.

The Pentagon says the U.S. has agreed to delay joint military exercises with South Korea until after the Winter Olympics.

Col. Rob Manning is a Pentagon spokesman. Manning says President Donald Trump agreed to the delay in consultation with South Korean President Moon Jae-in (jah-yihn).

Manning says in a brief written statement: “The Department of Defense supports the president’s decision and what is in the best interest of the ROK-U.S. alliance,” referring to the U.S. defense treaty with the Republic of Korea.

The decision pushes back a set of annual military exercises known as Foal Eagle, which normally are held between February and April. Foal Eagle is a series of exercises designed to test the readiness of the two countries’ militaries.

The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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8:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump says his tough stance on nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula is helping push North Korea and South Korea to talk.

Trump tweeted early Thursday, “Does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North.”

Earlier this week, Trump seemed open to the possibility of an inter-Korean dialogue after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a rare overture toward South Korea in a New Year’s address. But Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations insisted that talks won’t be meaningful unless the North is getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

The overture about talks came after Trump and Kim traded more bellicose claims about their nuclear weapons.

In his New Year’s address, Kim repeated fiery nuclear threats against the U.S. Kim said he has a “nuclear button” on his office desk and warned that “the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike.”

Trump mocked that assertion Tuesday evening, tweeting: “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

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