Historic Invitation from the North Korean Regime
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has formally invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang.
The invitation was delivered by Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo Jong at a historic meeting between the two countries’ officials at Seoul’s presidential palace Saturday.
The meeting is considered the most significant diplomatic encounter between the two parties in more than a decade. The previous encounter took place in 2007.
Ms Kim is the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South since the Korean War ended in 1953 in a military stalemate and without a peace treaty.
Moon Accepts the Invitation
Moon responded to the invitation positively. In fact, Moon suggested that the two countries “should accomplish this by creating the right conditions” and added talks between North Korea and the United States were also needed.
Amid the high tensions on the Korean peninsula, Moon expressed his intention to use the Winter Olympics as a chance to make diplomatic pursuits with the North and renew talks for peace, and eventually end the hostilities.
Speaking last year at his swearing-in ceremony, Moon said he would be willing to travel to Pyongyang “under the right conditions,” adding that “for peace on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything that I can do.”
Other members of the North Korean delegation present at Saturday’s meeting included Ri Son Gwon, who led the first sit-down talks at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) earlier this year, and Choe Hwi. South Korean participants included senior officials Jeong Eui-yong, Jo Myong-gyoon and Im Jong-suk, the chief presidential secretary.
South Korea Expresses Commitment To End Hostilities With North Korea
Even before North Korea made a move for possible dialogue with the North Korean regime, South Korea had expressed its willingness to open talks with its long time adversary. The move is considered by the South Korean government as a crucial step to end the long-running conflict between the two nations and for the realization of peace on the border.
The South’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said, “Talks and cooperation between the two Koreas to ease tension and bring about peace on the Korean peninsula will be instrumental for pushing forth a mutual, virtuous cycle for inter-Korea relations and North Korea’s nuclear problem.”
That was not the first time South Korea expressed its desire to end the hostilities with its neighbour. In fact, President Moon Jae-in said during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month that he is amenable to opening a dialogue with the North Korean regime despite its “nuclear provocation.”