The most senior South Koreans to travel to North Korea for more than a decade met leader Kim Jong Un Monday, a Seoul official said, the latest step in an Olympics-driven rapprochement on the divided peninsula.
The delegation, representing the South’s President Moon Jae-in, is pushing for talks between the nuclear-armed regime and the United States, after Kim sent his sister Kim Yo Jong to the Winter Games in the South.
“Chairman Kim Jong Un is currently hosting a dinner for the special envoys,” Moon’s spokesman told a press briefing Monday evening, Yonhap news agency reported.
Kim Yo Jong’s trip was the first visit to the South by a member of the North’s ruling dynasty since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, and her appearance at the Games’ opening ceremony — where athletes from the two Koreas marched together — made global headlines.
Moon has sought to use the Pyeongchang Games to open dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang in hopes of easing a nuclear standoff that has heightened fears over global security.
In Seoul, Kim Yo Jong invited him to a summit in Pyongyang on her brother’s behalf. But Moon did not immediately accept, saying the right conditions were necessary first.
Before leaving for Pyongyang, the South’s national security advisor Chung Eui-yong said: “We plan to hold in-depth discussions for ways to continue not only inter-Korean talks but dialogue between North Korea and the international community including the United States.