North proposes inter-Korean summit with S Korean President

ANI | Updated: Feb 10, 2018 16:53 IST

Seoul [South Korea], Feb 10 (ANI): North Korea on Saturday proposed an inter-Korean summit to be held in Pyongyang and invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for the same.

The proposal was announced in a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong.

The South Korean presidential office spokesperson, Kim Eui-kyeom said that Yo-jong came to South Korea as a "special envoy of Kim Jong-un."

"While delivering a letter from Kim Jong-un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, which contained his stated willingness to improve South-North Korea relations, special envoy Kim Yo-jong orally delivered Chairman Kim Jong-un's invitation (for Moon) to visit the North at a time convenient to him, saying he is willing to meet President Moon Jae-in at the earliest date possible," the spokeswoman said in a statement.

Moon also stressed the need for North Korea to resume its dialogue with the United States.

The meeting in the Cheong Wa Dae was held in a "friendly" mood, where the two sides exchanged their views on a wide range of issues, including inter-Korean ties and other matters concerning the Korean Peninsula, according to the spokesperson.

There have been two inter-Korean summits so far, one in 2000 and an another in 2007. If Moon accepts the invitation, then this would pave the way for what could be the third meeting of the inter-Korean summits between the two countries.

Moon first met the delegation at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchanger Winter Olympics, which was led by North Korean ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam on Friday. He also had a three-hour meeting with the delegation as well.

Yong-nam is the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea.

Yo-jong's visit to the South was the first visit by a member of the ruling Kim family ever since the Korean War ended in 1953.

The meeting also included two other high-level delegates- Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North Korea's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

The North Korean delegation's visit to South Korea was the first trip since August 2009, when a high-level North Korean delegation attended the funeral of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who held the first-ever inter-Korean summit with then North Korean leader late Kim Jong-il in 2000.

The 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang kicked off on Friday with the two Koreans marching under a unified flag in an opening ceremony themed around peace and future.

After months of tensions, the athletes from the two countries marched under the same flag in the parade ceremony. A joint ice hockey team, comprising of both North and South Korean players will take part in the Winter Games.

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.

Though South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympic Games for the first time, the nation has some experience in the world of international athletics, having hosted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

The two sides had met at the border village of Panmunjom, located along the heavily guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) for high-level, working-level and military talks respectively.

Also, North Korea sent its own cheerleader squad and an art troupe who are scheduled to perform in the Pyeongchang Winter Games. (ANI)

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