South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with a high-level North Korean delegation on Saturday morning, the presidential office announced on Thursday.
The meeting will follow the DPRK delegation’s participation in the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom told media during a televised media briefing.
Only Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the DPRK’s Supreme People’s Assembly, will participate in a reception before the opening ceremony hosted by Moon, who will then meet the full delegation for lunch on Saturday.
The venue for the meeting and lunch is yet to be decided, the Blue House added.
Pyongyang on Monday informed Seoul that Kim Yong Nam, the highest-level North Korean official among those traveling to the South, would be its chief delegate to the PyeongChang Olympics.
Pyongyang on Wednesday also proposed sending Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, who serves as the first vice director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).
Chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee Choe Hwi and chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC) Ri Son Gwon have been proposed to accompany them.
It remains unclear whether Choe and Ri will attend, however, an official at the Blue House said in a statement carried by South Korean media.
Another senior official at the Blue House said there will likely be more than one meeting between Moon and Kim before the DPRK delegation leaves the South on Sunday.
The South Korean presidential office on Wednesday said it is “significant” that Kim Yo Jong was included in the delegation.
High-profile North Korean officials including Hwang Pyong So, Choe Ryong Hae and the late Kim Yang Gon visited the South in October 2014 to attend the closing ceremony of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon.
They did not, however, meet with then-South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
The North Korean high-level delegation is scheduled to begin a three-day visit to the South on Friday and will travel to the South via a private jet, the unification ministry said on Thursday.
Choe Hwi’s visit, however, requires the South be granted a temporary exemption from international sanctions against the DPRK.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday said the process was underway at the UN Security Council sanctions committee and that the final decision hasn’t yet been made.
Meanwhile, Moon on Thursday held a bilateral meeting with Chinese special enjoy Han Zheng, who also serves as a member of the Standing Committee of Political Bureau of Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Moon told Han that the two Koreas should work together so that “dialogue with North Korea could continue and ultimately lead to talks on resolving the North’s nuclear issues even after the PyeongChang Olympics.”
“The U.S. and North Korea are holding the key to developments on the Korean peninsula,” Han told Moon, quoted in a statement provided by the Blue House. “Both Korea and China need to work toward the same goal to encourage the U.S. and North Korea to hold dialogue.”
“As the Chinese saying goes, ‘one day of cold weather will not result in three feet of ice.’ Given the complex circumstances, let us work together with patience.”
Moon is also set to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday night.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Blue House
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