North Korea invites South Korea to visit Pyongyang

It appears as if more steps toward diplomatic peace are being made at the 2018 Olympics

By Nicole Karlis

Published February 10, 2018 4:41PM (EST)

Kim Jong-Un (Getty/STR)
Kim Jong-Un (Getty/STR)

Kim Jong-un has reportedly expressed a willingness to “improve relations” with South Korea, and has extended an invitation to South Korean president Moon Jae to a meeting in Pyongyang.

Kim Eui-kyeom, South Korean president's spokesman, revealed the news at a Saturday press conference, according to a report in Al Jazeera.

"Chairman Kim Jong Un's envoy Kim Yo-jong delivered a letter expressing a willingness to improve relations," the spokesman said. "She also delivered a message from Kim Jong-un that he is willing to meet President Moon Jae-in in the near future and that he hopes President Moon visits the North at a convenient time."

The South Korean president reportedly responded with a willingness to work on finding the right conditions to have the meeting, Al Jazeera reports.

Such a meeting would be a significant step in history for the two countries, and it comes on the heels of another recent historic event. This week Olympic athletes from North Korea and South Korea marched together during the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Games under a unified flag. According to HuffPost Korea, "spectators were visibly moved," and some viewers reportedly shed tears. The last time the two Koreas marched together during the Olympic opening ceremonies was 2006.

However, according to the Al Jazeera report, Moon is reportedly encouraging diplomatic discussions between the U.S. and North Korea, too.

"Moon is saying that although he is keen to reboot inter-Korean relations, the dialogue between the United States and the North is essential. And he is encouraging both sides to come together,” Al Jazeera reports.

Vice President Mike Pence has been at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and all eyes have been on him observing his support of the improving Korean relations. Indeed, Pence tweeted on Saturday morning: “I'm grateful for the strong relationship between the U.S & South Korea. We're going to stand solidly with South Korea and with all of our allies to continue to bring the maximum pressure to bear on North Korea. #VPinASIA."

Some reports from South Korea have suggested Pence isn’t as supportive of the improving relations though, such as his alleged snub—despite what officials have said.

Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a senior writer at Salon. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

MORE FROM Nicole Karlis

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Kim Jong-un North Korea Pyongyang South Korea