North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang “at any convenient time,” expressing hope for what would be the third inter-Korean summit “at earliest possible date,” the Seoul presidential office said Saturday.
The invitation was delivered by Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of Kim and the first member of the Kim dynasty that ruled over the reclusive socialist state through three generations to come to the South, in a meeting with Moon at the presidential office.
Kim handed over the letter from her brother, signed as the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, and also vocally expressed the North Korean state chief executive’s wishes, Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.
Kim arrived in Seoul together with North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam in a 21-member delegation to the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Friday. She, however, has come to Seoul as a special envoy of the North Korean ruler, not as part of the Olympics delegation, the spokesman said.
Moon politely indicated the conditions must be met as it is the official stance of Seoul and Washington to keep up maximum pressure until Pyongyang decisively makes progress towards denuclearization.
“Let’s work to make the conditions right,” Moon was quoted as saying. The dramatic conciliatory mood between the two Koreas comes as Washington has reportedly been studying the option of a restricted military strike to deliver a “bloody nose” to the nuclear-armed Pyongyang regime.
The North Korean government delegation held the most senior-level talks with the South Korean government in nearly a decade and discussed "a broad-range” of issues on the inter-Korean relationship, the spokesman said. Kim and other delegates lunched and spent time in the Blue House for nearly three hours.
Moon advised Pyongyang should be more active in pursuing talks with Washington to help peace in the peninsula, the spokesman said.
The late Kim Jong-il, the younger Kim’s predecessor and father, had summit talks with former South Korean progressive Presidents Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun in 2007 both in Pyongyang. Moon, Roh’s then chief of staff, had arranged the summit before Roh finished his term. The détente dubbed Sunshine policy was chucked away by the two subsequent conservative governments that ceased ties and imposed sanctions upon the deadly military provocations from North Korea. Washington under hard-line President Donald Trump has mounted even heavier sanctions on top of United Nations sanctions and warned of a military option after Pyongyang tested inter-continental ballistic missiles that it alleges can hit the entire U.S mainland and nuclear device last year.
By Kang Gye-man
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