North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met senior South Korean officials for a four-hour dinner on Monday evening, the first time he has met South Korean officials since taking power in 2011.
North Korean state media on Tuesday described the visit of South Korean envoys as “satisfactory.” The dinner included discussions about “easing the acute military tensions on the Korean peninsula” and activating a range of dialogue channels and contacts. Media added that Kim seeks to “write a new history of national reunification.”
However, it is not yet clear if the key issue of North Korea’s willingness to discuss steps toward denuclearization was discussed. A further meeting between officials from North and South is expected today.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s National Security Director, Chung Eui-yong, is leading a ten-member delegation to Pyongyang. It is the first major South-to-North diplomatic deploymeny since the sister of Kim Jong-un, Kim Jo-yong, invited Moon to meet her brother during her visit to the South last month.
That invitation took place amid moves toward inter-Korean rapprochement at what Moon has dubbed “The Peace Olympics” – the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which started on February 9 and will end with the closing of the Winter Paralympics on 18 March. Those moves included the dispatch, by Pyongyang, of the first-ever member of North Korea’s Kim clan to visit South Korea, and also of a senior general.
The Southern delegation had hoped to meet with Kim himself – but the meeting had not been guaranteed.
“I will certainly deliver President Moon’s firm resolve to achieve a denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and genuine and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Chung said at a press conference before departure on Monday, according to agencies. He said he would try to find ways to restart direct dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington – a key Moon objective. Source: Agencies