Kim Jong Un invites South Korean President Moon to Pyongyang

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean President Moon to Pyongyang

The invitation, delivered by Kim's visiting sister Kim Yo Jong, said Kim was willing to meet the South's leader "at the earliest date possible", said a spokesman for the presidential Blue House.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks in Pyongyang, South Korean officials said on Saturday, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

The meeting was the most significant diplomatic encounter between the two sides in more than a generation.

The divided Koreas have held two inter-Korean summits, both in Pyongyang, with the second summit held between the late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and the late Kim Jong-il in 2007.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programs past year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

The level of the delegation has become the highest since the end of the Korean War.

The officials, who spoke on condition because they were not authorized to discuss the USA approach publicly, also denied that Pence had been blindsided by the seating arrangement - with the North Koreans in the row behind him, allowing Kim Yo Jong to be easily pictured in profile next to the vice-president. The country's participation was agreed upon in the talks between Pyongyang and Seoul in January.

North Korean officials refused to meet with any US representatives after months of tensions between the two countries over the North's nuclear weapons program.


"Make no mistake about it, the United States of America has viable military options to deal with a nuclear threat from North Korea but, that being said, we hope for a better path", he said.

Attention is on how much Moon will urge the North to improve inter-Korean ties and to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

A senior United States official said Pence and Moon, while watching speed skating together on Saturday night, discussed intensifying sanctions.

Pence had said all week that if he met with the North Koreans, he would deliver a tough message. Moon shared details with Pence of his meeting with North Korean leaders, but did not talk about the invitation to talks in Pyongyang. According to press reports, White House strategists have argued that "limited strike on a missile launch site or other select targets" might convince North Korea about the seriousness of USA intent and discourage further escalation.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from U.S. aggression.

They said Pence could have opted to sit with the U.S. delegation and avoided the box that included the North Koreans. Instead, they said, Kim simply wasn't seated in the area where Pence was receiving well-wishers.

Kim Yo Jong, 28, is the first member of the ruling Kim family bearing the bloodline of the sacred Mount Paektu, a centrepiece of the North's idolisation and propaganda campaign, to cross the border into the South since the 1950-53 Korean War. They reported live on the convoy as it traveled from the delegates' hotel to the Blue House.

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