SEOUL – North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un hosted on Monday a dinner, along with his spouse and sister, for Seoul’s envoys and held a meeting with them which lasted more than four hours and in which both the countries reached an agreement to hold an inter-Korean summit.
The meeting at the Workers Party’s headquarters, marking the first visit of the South Korean officials, was described as “satisfactory” by both parties, and represents another step forward in the rapprochement between the two Koreas that began earlier this year.
Kim Jong-un received the South Korean delegation, headed by Chung Eui-yong, chief of the presidential National Security Office, shortly after it arrived in Pyongyang, and the meeting lasted more than four hours, according to a spokesperson of the South Korean Blue House office.
The North Korean leader was present along with his wife, Ri Sol-ju, and his sister, Kim Yo-jong, at the dinner, which was attended by Chung and the rest of the delegation, and which was held in a “cordial” and “fraternal” environment, according to the North Korean state news agency KCNA.
Kim Yo-jong was also present during the pre-dinner meeting, in which, according to North Korean media, Kim Jong-un and South Korean high-level envoys reached a “satisfactory” agreement to hold an inter-Korean summit, and exchanged views on what steps to take to ease the military tensions on the Korean Peninsula and promote dialogue, cooperation and exchange.
Meanwhile, a Seoul spokesperson said the visit that ends Tuesday had not disappointed, while a press conference by the high-level delegation is expected upon its arrival in the South Korean capital at 6:00 pm.
The meeting between Kim Jong-un and the South Korean delegation was widely covered by Pyongyang’s official media such as Rodong Sinmun, which on Tuesday published the news of the meeting accompanied by about a dozen photographs on its cover page.
A spokesperson for the South Korean Unification Ministry said that the unusual media display seems to indicate that North Korea has given importance to the visit.
In early February, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, made an historic visit to South Korea on the occasion of the Winter Olympic Games, held in the South Korean county of PyeongChang, and conveyed to Moon an invitation to travel to Pyongyang and participate in a high-level inter-Korean summit, the first of its kind in more than a decade.
The South Korean president welcomed the invitation, but considered that certain conditions should be met to make his visit to Pyongyang a reality, including a new round of talks between the United States and North Korea.