S Korean PM hosts lunch for North Korean delegation

S Korean PM hosts lunch for North Korean delegation
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Photo: ANI

Seoul: South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon hosted a lunch session for a high-level North Korean delegation at the Walker Hill Hotel here on Sunday.

The delegation, led by North Korean ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, includes Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong-un.

The meeting came a day after the delegation met South Korean President Moon Jae-in and delivered the North Korean leader’s invitation for Moon to visit Pyongyang, the Yonhap news agency reported.

North Korea on Saturday proposed an inter-Korean summit to be held in Pyongyang and invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for the same. The proposal was announced in a meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong.

Cheong Wa Dae (South Korean presidential office) spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said that Yo-jong came to South Korea as a “special envoy of Kim Jong-un.”

The meeting in the Cheong Wa Dae was held in a “friendly” mood, where the two sides exchanged their views on a wide range of issues, including inter-Korean ties and other matters concerning the Korean Peninsula, according to the spokesperson.

Moon first met the delegation at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Friday. United States Vice-President Mike Pence was also present and led the US delegation. However, he did not meet with Yong-nam and Yo-jong.

Yong-nam is the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea.

Yo-jong’s visit to the South was the first visit by a member of the ruling Kim family ever since the Korean War ended in 1953.

The meeting also included two other high-level delegates- Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North Korea’s state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

The North Korean delegation’s visit to South Korea was the first trip since August 2009, when a high-level North Korean delegation attended the funeral of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who held the first-ever inter-Korean summit with then North Korean leader late Kim Jong-il in 2000.

The delegation will return to Pyongyang later today.

The 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang kicked off on Friday with the two Koreas marching under a unified flag in an opening ceremony themed around peace and future.

A joint ice hockey team, comprising of both North and South Korean players will take part in the Winter Games.

North Korea has sent a delegation of 22 athletes to compete in five disciplines, with their women’s ice hockey players to compete in a unified Korean team.

Though South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympic Games for the first time, the nation has some experience in the world of international athletics, having hosted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

The two sides had met at the border village of Panmunjom, located along the heavily guarded Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) for high-level, working-level and military talks respectively.

Also, North Korea sent its own cheerleader squad and an art troupe who are scheduled to perform in the Pyeongchang Winter Games. (ANI)