Talks between North and South Korea ahead of next month's Winter Olympics have eased fears of war over Pyongyang's development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States - at least for now.
But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has shown no sign of willingness to give in to US demands and negotiate away a weapons program he sees as vital to his survival, so any reduction in tensions could prove short-lived.
Rhetoric on all sides may have moderated as a result of the first round of intra-Korean talks in more than two years on Tuesday, but US officials say hawks in President Donald Trump's administration, up to and including Trump himself, remain pessimistic that they will lead anywhere.
In recent days, in a series of media leaks, US officials have spoken of the president's willingness to consider a limited preemptive strike on North Korea to change Kim's mindset.
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