South Korea says Kim Jong-un has extended invitation for summit in North Korea – World
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.
The spokesman said Moon replied that the North and South should continue to work to build conditions so that a summit can take place.
The spokesman said Moon also called for a quick resumption of dialogue between the United States and North Korea.
The luncheon at the Blue House came after Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean dictator, and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which has brought a temporary lull in tensions over the North’s nuclear program.
South Korean television showed a smiling Moon entering a reception room and shaking hands with the North Koreans, who also included Choe Hwi, chairman of the country’s National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North’s agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs. Moon was joined by his national security director Chung Eui-yong, chief of staff Im Jong-seok, National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon and Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.
Moon is desperate to use the games as an opportunity to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into talks over resolving the international standoff over its nuclear program.
Lawmakers from Moon’s liberal ruling party had talked about the possibility of South Korea sending a special envoy to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jong-un.
Moon has already put a summit offer on the table. The first liberal president in a decade, Moon during his inauguration speech last year that he would be willing to visit Pyongyang and meet with Kim Jong-un if that helps solve the nuclear problem.
The North and South held summits in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, both hosted by late Kim Jong-il, the father of Kim Jong-un.
Kim Yo Jong, 30, is the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Analysts say the North’s decision to send her to the Olympics shows eagerness to break out from diplomatic isolation by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.
As First Vice-Director of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, Kim has been an increasingly prominent figure in North Korea’s leadership and is considered one of the few people who has earned her brother’s absolute trust.