North Korea's Kim Jong invites S Korea's Prez to Pyongyang

Sunday, 11 Feb, 2018

South Korea said Saturday North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit meeting in the North. Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said Kim's sister verbally delivered his offer in a lunch meeting with Moon at Seoul's presidential palace.

Moon was invited to a summit with Kim, even as the United States warned against falling for Pyongyang's Olympic charm offensive.

Kim Yo-jong arrived in South Korea on Friday with Kim Yong-nam, the North's nominal head of state, for the Games opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.

With nods to the country's landmarks and ancient culture as well as its potential to lead the world in future technological innovations, the opening ceremony at Olympic Stadium featured athletes from 91 countries, including a delegation from North Korea that marched into Olympic Stadium with athletes from South Korea.

Moon responded to the invitation by suggesting the two countries "should accomplish this by creating the right conditions", adding that talks between North Korea and the United States were also needed, and requested that North Korea be more active in talking with the U.S., according to Kim Eui-kyeom.

Washington insists that Pyongyang - which is under multiple sets of United Nations Security Council sanctions - must take concrete steps toward denuclearization before any negotiations can take place.

"We are not giving any information on the itinerary of President Moon in advance", a spokesman told AFP.

"An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", he said, according to his spokesman.

If it materlises, it would be the first summit in more than a decade between Korean leaders.

"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. In January 1968, Kim Yo-jong's grandfather, founding North Korean president Kim Il Sung, sent a squad of North Korean commandos to Seoul who tried unsuccessfully to kill then-president Park Chung-hee.

Kim Yo-jong is the only member of the North's ruling family to have visited the South since the end of the war.

The delegations shared a lunch of dried pollack dumpling soup, a regional specialty of the only divided province on the Korean peninsula, and soju, a spirit popular on both sides of the heavily militarised border.

The two men will jointly support the team in the evening match in Gangneung against Switzerland, the Yonhap news agency reported, citing Seoul's presidential Blue House.