Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for talks in the North

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for talks in the North

Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said Saturday Kim's sister verbally delivered his offer in a lunch meeting with Moon at Seoul's presidential palace.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula after he met North Korean ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam during the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Games on Friday.

Pence was in close proximity to the North Korean party both at the VIP reception and later, watching the Opening Ceremony from Moon's box, which included Kim Yong Nam and leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong.

Should Moon make his way north, it would mark the first meeting between the top officials of the two Koreas since 2007, when South Korea's Roh Moo-hyun and North Korea's Kim Jong-il discussed nuclear non-proliferation and economic cooperation.

United States President Donald Trump and Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un weren't thrown out of their respective countries.

"An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", he said, according to his spokesman.

Saturday's meeting follows a brief encounter between the two parties at the Olympic Opening Ceremony Friday, in which Moon twice shook hands with Kim Yo Jong.

Talks between North and South Korean leaders have happened in the past without yielding any significant changes in North Korea's behavior.

That meant Pence was mere feet away from Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of North Korean head of state Kim Jong-un.

Officials traveling with Pence said it would be fair to characterize his failure to interact with the North Koreans as a mutual decision, with neither side making any public overtures.

Pence only stood for the US team, according to the Associated Press, though others seated near Pence stood and applauded for the Korean delegation.

Following the visit that lasted nearly three hours, Seoul's Presidential Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters that the North Korean leader's sister delivered the message to Moon that Kim Jong-un would like a meeting.

Since diplomatic efforts are "almost zero", sources said this may signal a "calm before the storm", with North Korea quietly preparing its next moves for after the Olympics.

The North Korean Leader started the New Year by letting it be known that he is in possession of a "nuclear button" on his desk that he's not afraid to use in the event that the us provokes him. The Pences, seated next to Moon and just a row ahead of Kim and the North's 90-year-old nominal head of state, remained in their seats, unsmiling.

North Korea has sent a delegation of 22 athletes to compete in five disciplines, with their women's ice hockey players to compete in a unified Korean team.

But Mr Moon, a liberal who has always wanted to engage the North, will also have to convince a good portion of his own people who are deeply wary about North Korean intentions. Moon ran for (and won) his country's highest office on a platform of diplomacy with the North.

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