North Korea willing to hold talks with US, says South Korea

The announcement came after General Kim Yong-chol met South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics

North Korea willing to hold talks with US, says South Korea

The announcement came after General Kim Yong-chol met South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics

25 February 2018 Sunday 20:01
North Korea willing to hold talks with US, says South Korea

By Azania Post Reporter

The North Korean regime has shown willingness to sit and talk with the US, South Korea says.

The announcement came after General Kim Yong-chol met South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka also attended the ceremony, but US officials have ruled out meeting the North Korean delegation.

The US says North Koreans pulled out of a meeting with Vice-President Mike Pence during the opening ceremony.

The Korean peninsula has been divided since the 1950-53 war and the two sides have never signed a peace treaty.

The rapprochement between the two Koreas has been seen as a move by the North to drive a wedge between the South and the US.

Medals and mediation

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics ended as it started with geopolitics being played out in a packed stadium and in front of a global television audience.

The US president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, sat one row in front of North Korean general Kim Yong-chol. Two seats down from him was Gen Vincent Brooks, commander of US forces in South Korea and in the middle of them all - Moon Jae-in, giving handshakes all round.

South Korea's President Moon has tried to bring Washington and Pyongyang together at these Olympics. He's met two rounds of delegations from both countries and his message has been clear: You need to talk.

We could be some way off any major discussions between them - we have heard of the North's readiness to talk to the US before and it's led to nothing. But coming after a period of such high tension on the Korean peninsula, this does seem to show a shift in mood all round.

And, if there is a breakthrough of sorts, many will remember President Moon's Winter Olympic strategy as the time it all began.

US cool on North-South thaw

North and South Korea marched under one flag at the opening ceremony, and fielded a unified women's ice hockey team.

The North sent Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, to attend the opening ceremony of the Games.

A meeting between Mr Pence and Mr Kim's sister was cancelled inexplicably by the North Koreans, US officials have said. North Korea has made no comment on the US reports.

It would have been the first official interaction between North Korea and the Trump administration.

Last Friday, US President Donald Trump warned of serious consequences if the latest round of sanctions did not generate results.

"If the sanctions don't work we'll have to go phase two - and phase two may be a very rough thing, may be very, very unfortunate for the world," he said.

He did not specify what "phase two" would entail.

BBC

Updated: 25.02.2018 20:08
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