February 11, 2018 / 4:07 AM / 9 days ago

N.Korea notes 'warm talks' with S.Korea's Moon, no mention of summit invitation

SEOUL, Feb 11 (Reuters) - North Korea’s state news agency said on Sunday its delegation sent to the Winter Olympics had held “frank and candid” talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in but there was no mention of the North’s invitation to Moon to Pyongyang for a summit.

Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong Un, “courteously” handed over a personal letter from the North Korean leader to Moon during talks on Saturday and also told Moon of her brother’s “intention”, KCNA said, without elaborating on what that was.

South Korean officials have said Moon was invited to Pyongyang to speak with Kim Jong Un during the talks and lunch that Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Saturday.

Such a summit, if it came about, would mark the first time that leaders of the two Koreas have met since 2007. Moon has been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.

Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon “in the near future” and would like for him to visit North Korea “at his earliest convenience”, his sister told Moon.

The South Korean leader said in response “let’s create the environment for that to be able to happen”, Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a news briefing.

The KCNA report cited Moon as saying inter-Korean relations should be mended by the parties concerned “at any cost as indicated by Chairman Kim Jong Un in his New Year Address”.

Kim Yong Nam, the North’s nominal head of state who was also at Saturday’s meeting, said “even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations”. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Paul Tait)

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