North Korean leader Kim Jung-un on Tuesday called for continuing a theme of reconciliation with the South over the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, despite wary South Korean allies and a concerned Unites States.
Mr. Kim said he wanted to stoke the “warm climate of reconciliation”, calling for a “further livening up” of more favorable relations with the Republic of Korea, the official name for the South, reported multiple news agencies.
The Olympic host had invited their northern neighbours, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, to participate in the Winter Games under a unified flag for some events, despite numerous nuclear and missile weaponry tests carried out by Pyongyang last year.
Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, was at the Games’ opening ceremony on behalf of the DPRK, in a so-called “charm offensive” some said distracted international attention from Pyongyang’s military ambitions, despite the sister’s negative track record on human rights.
Kim Yo-jong, and the North’s ceremonial head-of-state Kim Yong-nam, gave a letter on behalf of her brother on Saturday inviting ROK President Moon Jae-in to the DPRK’s capital for a state visit.
It would be the first time in over a decade between Korean leaders, with the letter given by the North’s most senior delegation since the Korean War over 60 years ago.
The Korean Central News Agency showed an image of the North Korean leader with his sister and the head-of-state linked on his arms.
Mr. Moon said Tuesday that the United States would be open to creating dialogue with the North, which officially does not exist as the U.S. carries out diplomatic relations through a proxy envoy.
While the Korean president did not go into detail, he may have been referring to a comment made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on his return flight from the Games.
“If you want to talk, we’ll talk,” Mr. Pence said regarding the North, as quoted by the Washington Post.
Pence echoes statements made in the past by President Donald Trump where he has expressed interest in meeting with Kim Jung-un.
More details to follow. Image of Kim Jung-un from KCNA.