UN Secretary-General meets N Korean delegation

UN Secretary-General meets N Korean delegation
Photo: ANI

Seoul: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula after he met North Korean ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam during the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Games on Friday.

Guterres met the 22-member North Korean delegation, which was led by Yong-nam. He also greeted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong during a dinner meeting, the Yonhap news agency reported.

“Secretary-General Guterres has reiterated his expectation and hoped that all parties will use dialogue to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

Guterres also met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday and expressed hope the Winter Olympics will open a “window of opportunity” for stronger diplomatic efforts between the two Koreas, in order to denuclearise the peninsula, South Korean presidential office said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Moon met the North Korean delegation at the South Korean presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae (Blue House).

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 North Korea on Sunday.

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

After months of tensions, the athletes from the two countries marched under the same flag in the parade ceremony. 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)