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Kim Jong Un invites South's Moon to Pyongyang: Seoul

12 February 2018, 07:31 | Devin Moran

Kim Jong Un invites South's Moon to Pyongyang: Seoul

Kim Jong Un invites South's Moon to Pyongyang: Seoul

North Korea's state news agency said on Sunday its delegation sent to the Winter Olympics held "frank and candid" talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in but there was no mention of the North's invitation to Moon to Pyongyang for a summit.

He said the North was using the Games for crude propaganda.

Throw in there the accusations that South Korea has had to arrange huge payouts for past meetings, and that these earlier encounters, while producing indelible images, have done little to slow North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Not everybody was so taken by the show of Korean unity, with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence remaining seated as the North and South Koreans entered the stadium.

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

North Korea is sending 22 athletes, including three Alpine skiers, to the Pyeongchang Games thanks to special entries given by the International Olympic Committee amid rare reconciliation mood between the rival Koreas.

"This development could have been anticipated, but for Japan it's a nightmare scenario", said Takashi Kawakami, a professor of worldwide politics at Takushoku University in Tokyo. "Moon should be aware that he has to urge denuclearisation to North Korea by himself, not depending on dialogue between the USA and North Korea", an editorial in the Yomiuri Newspaper read. "But if you want to talk, we'll talk".

The hermit kingdom has been slapped with round after round of sanctions, aimed at strangling its resources and forcing the regime to reign in its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.




Pence did say, however, that Moon shared with him details of his meeting with North Korean leaders, without elaborating.

Kyodo quoted a Japanese government source as saying: "It is clear to see that Kim Jong Un's agenda is to get a dialogue offensive under way".

A foreign resident living in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, told Reuters he had seen fewer people in restaurants and luxury goods in shops in recent months. Seafood, once a major North Korean export, was now more widely available at home after United Nations sanctions banned these exports in August.

Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state who was also at Saturday's meeting, said "even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations". The North then withdrew its request after it asked for more fuel than Seoul was willing to provide, a Seoul official added.

"The people I spoke to in Pyongyang were really excited about the joint team", said Michael Spavor of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, an organisation which took a group of tourists to Pyongyang last week.

The North Korean delegates later Saturday may attend the debut of the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team at the women's ice hockey tournament in Gangneung.

Such a summit, if it came about, would mark the first time that leaders of the two Koreas have met since 2007.

"They felt it had made this tense situation on the peninsula calm down a bit".



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