Home » Headlines » NoKor notes ‘warm talks’ with South Korea’s Moon

NoKor notes ‘warm talks’ with South Korea’s Moon

SOUTH Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (right) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong (left) as North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (center) looks on during their meeting in a hotel in Seoul, South Korea. (AFP)

SOUTH Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (right) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong (left) as North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam (center) looks on during their meeting in a hotel in Seoul, South Korea. (AFP)

SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) – North Korea’s state news agency said yesterday its delegation sent to the Winter Olympics held “frank and candid” talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in but there was no mention of the North’s invitation to Moon to Pyongyang for a summit.

The delegation, the highest-ranking to visit the South, concludes its visit later yesterday, having charmed and intrigued the South Korean public, but still faces deep skepticism over the North’s sincerity towards improving relations.

Any summit between the two still-officially warring Koreas would be a coup for Moon, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

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.

South Korean officials have said Moon was invited to Pyongyang to speak with Kim Jong Un during the talks and lunch that Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House here last Saturday.

Such a summit, if it came about, would mark the first time that leaders of the two Koreas have met since 2007.

US Vice President Mike Pence, who has left South Korea for Washington, said the United States, South Korea, and Japan were in complete agreement on isolating North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

“There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program,” Pence told reporters during the return flight to the United States.

A White House official said that although Moon did not discuss the invitation with Pence last Saturday, the South Korean President made it very clear that only when North Korea actually starts to take steps to denuclearize would anyone even consider beginning to take the pressure off.

According to the Blue House, Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon “in the near future” and would like for him to visit North Korea “at his earliest convenience,” his sister told Moon.

The South Korean leader said in response “let’s create the environment for that to be able to happen,” Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a news briefing.

comments