South Korean delegates deliver presidential letter to DPRK’s Kim Jong-un

World Today

SKorea-NKorea-US-politics-diplomacyChung Eui-yong (C), head of the presidential National Security Office, Suh Hoon (2nd L), the chief of the South’s National Intelligence Service, and other delegators pose before boarding an aircraft as they leave for Pyongyang at a military airport in Seongnam, south of Seoul, on March 5, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / pool / Jung Yeon-je)

A high-level delegation from the Republic of Korea has met with Kim Jong-Un in Pyongyang. The five officials presented the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with a hand-written letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

CGTN’s Jack Barton reports from Seoul.

After meeting with their counterparts from the DPRK, two members of the South Korean delegation attended a welcome dinner with Kim Jong-un, marking the first time the DPRK’s leader has ever met with officials from the South.

The head of delegation said the aim is to broaden diplomacy beyond the scope of the Olympics.

“We will deliver President Moon Jae-in’s wish to bring about denuclearization on the Korean peninsula and permanent peace, by extending the goodwill and better inter-Korean relations created by the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” according to Chung Eui-yong, head of South Korea’s National Security Office.


This handout photograph taken and released by the presidential Blue House on March 5, 2018 shows a South Korean delegation (L row), who travelled as envoys of the South’s President Moon Jae-in, talking with General Kim Yong Chol (2nd R), who is in charge of inter-Korean affairs for North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, during their meeting in Pyongyang. (AFP PHOTO / THE BLUE HOUSE)

Seoul said this will require Pyongyang and Washington to be on speaking terms.

“The delegation will discuss setting conditions for a North Korea-U.S. dialogue on denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula and improving the relationship between South and North Korea,” Yoon Young-chan, the senior South Korean Presidential Secretary for Public Relations. “After they return on the afternoon of March 6 and report on the results, they will travel to the United States to brief officials there on their visit to the North.”

President Moon was invited to Pyongyang by Kim Jong-un’s sister Yo-jong when she attended the Winter Games opening ceremony. Moon, however, has set communication between the DPRK and the U.S. as a pre-condition.

The Olympics provided a diplomatic opening for the Pyongyang and Seoul after more than a year of escalating tensions over the DPRK’s nuclear and missile programs, both of which continue despite United Nations sanctions.

President Donald Trump said the U.S. is prepared to talk, but the DPRK leaders must show they are prepared to “denuke;” a demand Pyongyang state media has labeled “preposterous.”

But the fact that there are now South Korean politicians in Pyongyang holding face to face talks with Kim Jong-un shows that a still fragile diplomacy with the DPRK is nonetheless progressing faster than anyone could have imagined just a few months ago.

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