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North Korean Leader Invites South Korean President to Pyongyang

11 February, 2018, 05:42 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
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Kim's special envoy, his sister Kim Yo Jong, delivered the verbal invitation during a lunch meeting with Moon at Seoul's Blue House, spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

"The North Koreans should understand that for a summit or any kind of serious talks to occur, Moon needs to be able to take something to Washington - something that addresses denuclearization", he said before the North's invitation to Moon was announced.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has extended a rare invitation to South Korea's President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang.

Earlier on Saturday, Kim invited Moon for talks in Pyongyang, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

Pence says he's leaving Asia "very confident that we are going to continue to do the things we've known have to be done to continue to pressure North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions".

Since diplomatic efforts are "almost zero", sources said this may signal a "calm before the storm", with North Korea quietly preparing its next moves for after the Olympics.

Kim Yo Jong also was due to attend the unified Korean hockey team's first Olympics match, a spokesperson for South Korea's presidential office told CNN.

Moon did not immediately accept the offer, calling instead for efforts to "create the right conditions to realise" such a visit and urging Pyongyang to actively seek dialogue with the U.S., he added.

"It didn't affect the opening ceremony", Park said.

At the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday night, Moon and Kim Yo Jong shook hands in what appeared to be a friendly manner.

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Earlier Friday, Pence traveled to the South Korean Navy's 2nd Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, to visit a memorial for sailors of the South Korean warship Cheonan, which was sunk by an explosion blamed on the North.

Pence told North Korean officials he would skip a dinner at the reception so he could meet with US athletes.

Asked about criticism that Pence stood and cheered only for Team USA and stayed seated when the North and South Koreans marched in under a unified flag, the official was unapologetic. Moon in particular made a strong push for direct dialogue between North Korea and the United States.

"Like that we have come a long way and that we should be proud of ourselves because we have written history".

North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs, were also in attendance.

Choe and Kim Yo Jong are both under direct American sanctions for human rights abuses related to their roles in censoring information in North Korea.

But they also hope to broker some peace behind the scenes, with Vice President Mike Pence and a delegation of senior North Korean officials attending a VIP reception before the Opening Ceremonies, and then the ceremony itself.

Last month, cyber-security firm McAfee said it had uncovered an attack targeting organisations involved with the Olympics, using a malicious email attachment.

"VP stands and cheers for US athletes, VP hangs out with USA athletes instead of dining with Kim regime, VP does not applaud N. Korea or exchange pleasantries w/ the most oppressive regime on earth", Agen tweeted, with check marks next to each item.

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