Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for talks

Saturday, 10 February 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks in Pyongyang.

South Korean officials made the announcement on Saturday, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

The personal invitation from Kim was delivered verbally by his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, during talks and a lunch Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon “in the near future” and would like for him to visit North Korea “at his earliest convenience”, his sister told Moon.

“We would like to see you at an early date in Pyongyang”, Kim Yo Jong told Moon during the lunch.

She also delivered her brother’s personal letter that expressed his “desire to improve inter-Korean relations,” the Blue House said.

In reply, South Korean President said, “Let’s create the environment for that to be able to happen,” according to Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

Seoul official said Moon “practically accepted” the invitation.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power last year on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North.

He also pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear and missile program.

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 last year and pressure from Seoul’s allies in Washington.

The prospect of two-way talks between the Koreas, however, may not be welcomed by the United States.