Global News

North Korea's Kim invites South Korean president for summit: South Korea

North Korea's Kim invites South Korean president for summit: South Korea

South Korean television is showing a smiling President Moon Jae-in entering a reception room and shaking hands with North Korean delegates, including leader Kim Jong Un's sister.

Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong Un, "courteously" handed over a personal letter from the North Korean leader to Moon during talks on Saturday and also told Moon of her brother's "intention", KCNA said, without elaborating on what that was.

The formal meeting between Moon and the delegation was held the day after the two nations' athletes marched under a unified flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday.

"An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", Moon said through a spokesperson.

US Vice President Mike Pence, who was seated in the same box, did not interact with the North Koreans at any point, US officials said.

The Koreas could potentially talk about a South Korean special envoy meeting Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang or even a summit between Moon and Kim.

On his flight to Alaska on Saturday, the vice president said he left Asia "encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) shakes hands with Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, during a lunch meeting in Seoul on February 11, 2018.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power previous year on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programme.

Moon and Kim Yo Jong broke out broad smiles as they shook hands ahead before the start of the opening ceremony at Pyeongchang's Olympic Stadium.

US Congress passes spending bill, sends to Trump to end shutdown
The president made a follow-up tweet minutes later, calling for the election of more Republicans in the upcoming 2018 elections. There's no obvious compromise that could win the 60 votes from Republicans and Democrats needed to prevail in the Senate.

US officials have been urging South Korea to be cautious in its rapprochement with the North. North Korea has said its nuclear weapons are not for bargaining away.

"Then, and only then, will the world community consider negotiating and making changes in the sanctions regime that's placed on them today", Pence said after a meeting with Moon.

When a ferry carrying North Koreans to the Games docked in South Korea last week, the North asked its hosts for the fuel needed to get it home, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. "But the Olympic moment that President Moon is trying to generate here is not a time to nurse those grievances", Jannuzi said.

Moon will continue to warm relations across the Korean Peninsula on Saturday, when he and Kim Yong-nam watch Korea's women's hockey team-the first-ever unified squad-open group play against Switzerland.

Moon's desire to engage North Korea was in contrast to his USA ally.

Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state who was also at Saturday's meeting, said "even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations".

Pence said he and Moon spoke as "friends" and are completely aligned on the need to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.

Moon is eager to use Kim Yo Jong's presence at the games to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into nuclear talks.

Both of those South Korean presidents had struggled under growing domestic criticism after their trips to Pyongyang had resulted in large shipments of aid and investment but failed to end the North's nuclear weapons program.


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