South Korea Delegation Meets with Kim Jong-un

March 6, 2018

A South Korean delegation met Monday evening with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — the first meeting with leaders from the South since Kim Jong-un took power in 2011.

Before the meeting with Kim, the head of the Seoul delegation, National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong, told the press: "I will clearly deliver President Moon's intent to maintain the flow of inter-Korean dialogue and improving relations to obtain permanent peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. To this end, [we] plan to discuss ways to continue inter-Korean talks, as well as dialogue between the North and the US, and the international society."

Following the meeting, the North Korean News Agency KCNA reported: "North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has told a visiting delegation from South Korea that it is his 'firm will to vigorously advance' inter-Korean ties and 'write a new history of national reunification.'"

Prior to the delegation's departure, South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told a conference of journalists that Seoul hopes to further explore the possibilities of US-North Korea dialogue. He said that without progress in North Korea's denuclearization, inter-Korean dialogue cannot take place.

"We are well aware that inter-Korean dialogue and improvements in South-North Korean relations cannot proceed in the absence of progress in the efforts to peacefully resolve the North Korean nuclear issue," she said, adding that such progress requires "direct talks" between the US and North Korea. "Inter-Korean dialogue and US-North Korea dialogue must advance in a mutually reinforcing manner," the minister said.

President Trump, asked about the Korea situation over the weekend, said that there would be talks between the US and North Korea, and that he would be willing to meet Kim Jong-un. Despite his tough talk over these past months regarding "rocket man" Kim Jong-un, it should be recalled that he said during the campaign that he would like to sit down over a hamburger with Kim.