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

South Korea's president hosts North Korea delegation, including dictator's sister

South Korea's president hosts North Korea delegation, including dictator's sister

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister on Saturday, hoping to translate Olympics detente into meaningful progress towards resolving a tense standoff over the North's nuclear and missile programmes.

Moon suggested the two Koreas "make it happen" by creating conditions necessary for him to accept the invitation, the spokesman told a news briefing.

The North Korean delegation's visit to the South Korean presidential office was the first of its kind since August 2009, when a high-level North Korean delegation made a rare trip here for the funeral of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who held the first-ever inter-Korean summit with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000.

North Korea conducted its largest nuclear test past year and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States.

The North Korean delegation is set to return home Sunday.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programme past year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

After the opening ceremony, the North Korean delegates moved to Seoul and spent the night at the Walkerhill hotel, a riverside facility named after late U.S. Army commander Walton Walker, who's considered a Korean War hero in the South.

The North Korean officials arrived here Friday as part of a 22-member delegation, led by the North Korean ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, who is the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.

Tensions between the two soared a year ago as Pyongyang tested missiles capable of reaching the US mainland and its most powerful nuclear device to date, while Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from US aggression. US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults as tensions rose.

"The vice-president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", a spokeswoman...

The two Koreas have a rocky and sometimes violent history at the Blue House.

Arirang is a Korean folk song that dates back before the peninsula was divided in 1945.

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