North Korea invites South's president to Pyongyang

North Korea invites South's president to Pyongyang

North offers first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade

By Alex Jensen

SEOUL (AA) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in to visit at the "earliest possible date," via a message delivered by Kim's sister Saturday.

Kim Yo-jong, who also serves as a senior official in the North, was part of the reclusive state's delegation that attended Friday evening's opening ceremony for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The first member of North Korea's ruling Kim family to visit the South, she then held talks with Moon Saturday.

"Special envoy Kim Yo-jong verbally delivered Chairman Kim Jong-un's invitation (for Moon) to visit the North at a time convenient to him, saying he is willing to meet President Moon Jae-in at the earliest date possible," Seoul's presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

"I wish I can see you in Pyongyang at an early date. If you meet Chairman Kim Jong-un and exchange views on many issues, the North-South relationship may quickly improve," Kim Yo-jong added according to a presidential official cited by local news agency Yonhap.

Moon reportedly responded saying "an early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship".

Washington has repeatedly made its position clear that the North's authoritarian regime must first abandon its nuclear weapon ambitions if it wants talks with the U.S. on ending sanctions.

South Korea and the U.S. have maintained a close military alliance since the 1950-53 Korean War, much to the anger of the North.

The allies agreed to delay joint military drills until after the Paralympics in March, but Pyongyang has called for the exercises to be halted altogether.

It remains uncertain whether such drills would interrupt potential plans for a third ever inter-Korean summit -- the last of which was held in 2007.

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