Top DPRK leader invites S. Korean president to Pyongyang for thaw in inter-Korean ties

2018-02-11 01:14:39 GMT2018-02-11 09:14:39(Beijing Time) Xinhua English
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (front C) walks with Kim Yong Nam (front L), president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and Kim Yo Jong (front R), the younger sister of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, at the Blue House in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on Feb. 10, 2018. (Xinhua/Newsis) South Korean President Moon Jae-in (front C) walks with Kim Yong Nam (front L), president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and Kim Yo Jong (front R), the younger sister of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, at the Blue House in Seoul, capital of South Korea, on Feb. 10, 2018. (Xinhua/Newsis)

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang as the DPRK leader is willing to see a thaw in relations between the two Koreas, the presidential Blue House said Saturday.

Kim delivered his invitation through his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, who came to South Korea and attended the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics held in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang on Friday night.

The younger Kim met and had lunch with Moon at the presidential complex as a special envoy of the DPRK leader. The meeting and luncheon, not disclosed to the media, lasted for nearly three hours.

During the meeting, the younger Kim said the DPRK leader is willing to meet President Moon at an earliest possible date, inviting the South Korean president to visit the DPRK at Moon's convenient time, Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a press briefing.

In response, Moon said, "Let's create conditions going forward and make it."

The spokesman said Moon and the high-ranking DPRK delegation made a broad range of discussions on inter-Korean relations and issues on the Korean Peninsula "under a friendly atmosphere."

Moon stressed the importance for talks between the DPRK and the United States, saying an early DPRK-U.S. dialogue is necessary to enhance inter-Korean ties.

The South Korean president asked the DPRK to actively push for talks with the United States.

Relations between the two Koreas showed signs of a thaw as the DPRK leader said in his New Year's address that his country was willing to dispatch its athletes to the South Korea-hosted winter sports event.

The high-level dialogue between the two Koreas was held in January. During the first inter-Korean talks in over two years, the DPRK agreed to send its athletes, cheerleaders and artists as well as a high-ranking delegation to the Winter Olympics.

The DPRK delegation was led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly. Two other senior delegates attending the meeting with Moon were Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

It marked the first time in eight and a half years that a high profile DPRK delegation visited South Korea's presidential complex.

In August 2009, the DPRK sent a high-ranking condolence delegation to bid farewell to late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung who held the first inter-Korean summit in June 2000 with late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader.

Late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun met in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Il in October 2007, the second summit between the two Koreas, but there has been no such summit for the past 10 years under conservative governments of South Korea.

President Moon said the DPRK delegation's visit to South Korea made the PyeongChang Winter Olympics a peace Olympic and created an opportunity to defuse tensions and build peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Moon and the DPRK delegation shared a view that the two Koreas should keep a good atmosphere of reconciliation and peace on the peninsula while boosting talks, exchange and cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang.

The DPRK delegates, who came to South Korea via a direct western air route by a private jet, are slated to return back to their homeland on Sunday.

 

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