Breaking News Emails
SEOUL — North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un said it is important to boost the "warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue" after meeting with the high-level delegation that returned to the North after their three-day visit in the South for the Winter Olympics, the North's state media said on Tuesday.
"It is important to continue making good results by further livening up the warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue created by the strong desire and common will of the North and the South with the Winter Olympics as a momentum," Kim was quoted in English by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying in a meeting with the delegation, according South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
Kim Jong Un also expressed "satisfaction" over their visit and said efforts made by Seoul to prioritize their visit were "very impressive."
He also "set forth in detail the orientation of the improvement of the North-South relations and gave important instructions to the relevant field to take practical measures for it," the report said, according to Yonhap.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in was invited to North Korean capital Pyongyang "at an early date" for a meeting — potentially setting up the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years, a South Korean official said Saturday.
Any meeting with Kim Jong Un would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power last year on a promise of greater engagement with the reclusive North.
The invitation came during talks and a lunch Moon hosted with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the North Korean leader, at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.
Kim Yo Jong was in the south for the Olympics amid a recent detente between the two neighbors, despite escalating tensions over the North's nuclear weapons program last year and pressure from Seoul's allies in the United States.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had traveled to the Olympics to counter what Washington said was the North's crude attempts to hijack the Games with a propaganda campaign.
Speaking to the Washington Post aboard Air Force Two while returning from the Winter Olympics, Pence said the Trump administration would keep up its “maximum pressure campaign” against Pyongyang but would be open to possible talks at the same time.
“The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization,” Pence was quoted as saying. “So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we’ll talk.”
Pence previously told NBC News' Lester Holt on the sidelines of the PyeongChang Olympics that the U.S. would protect itself from nuclear-armed North Korea's threats by taking whatever “action is necessary to defend our homeland.”
“We're going to continue to put all the pressure to bear economically and diplomatically, while preserving all of our military options to see that that happens,” Pence said.