Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president to North for summit

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president to North for summit
© Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit in the near future, Moon's office announced Saturday after a brief meeting between Moon and Kim's sister at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Kim requested the meeting "at an early date" through his sister Kim Yo Jong, a representative of the North Korean delegation at the Olympics, The New York Times reports. 

Moon said that the two nations should "work together to create the environment to make it happen," according to a spokesman, signaling a rare diplomatic opportunity for the two Koreas that have been divided since 1953.

ADVERTISEMENT

The North Korean leader “said he was willing to meet President Moon Jae-in at an early date and asked him to visit North Korea at a convenient date," the spokesman said. The meeting would be the first official talks between the two in 10 years.

But Moon has maintained that any talks with North Korea should be focused on brokering peace between the two nations, and that South Korea would not meet the north without its assurances of working to de-escalate the nuclear tensions on the peninsula.

The two Korean nations marched together during the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday under a banner showing a united Korean Peninsula, a banner that has been flown few times before.

"The South and North shared an understanding that they should continue the positive mood for peace and reconciliation created by the Pyeongchang Olympics and should promote inter-Korean dialogue, exchanges and cooperation,” Moon's office said of the cooperation in a statement.

Vice President Pence, who led the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and sat near Kim's sister during the opening ceremony, emphasized that for dialogue to take place with North Korea it must commit to taking nuclear weapons out of use.

Pence refused to meet with the North Korean delegation. He has said that he aims to shine a light on the oppression of the North Korean government through his visit, a show of force by the Trump administration that has taken a tough stance on the country.