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North Korea warms to dialogue after Olympic ‘charm offensive’ but US remains wary

Kim Jong-un has referred to as for “additional livening up of the nice and cozy local weather of reconciliation and dialogue” between North and South Korea, following the profitable go to of a Northern delegation to the Winter Olympics within the South.

North Korean information company KCNA issued a uncommon press launch because the North Korean delegation – led by Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong – returned residence from three days in Pyeongchang. Their go to to the South was the primary by such a senior delegation for the reason that Korean Battle within the 1950s.

“After receiving the delegation’s report, Kim Jong-un expressed satisfaction over it,” the discharge stated. The North Korean chief was reportedly impressed by “the options of the south facet, which specifically prioritised the go to of the members of the Democratic Individuals’s Republic of Korea…and expressed thanks for them.”

Kim Yo-jong met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in throughout her time within the south, carrying a letter from her brother inviting the president to visit North Korea. A South Korean president has not visited Pyongyang since 2007.

Moon Jae-in – who has been accused by South Korean commentators of falling sufferer to the Northern “charm offensive” – inspired Kim Jong-un to “accomplish this by creating the correct circumstances” and to “actively pursue” talks with the US authorities.

Kim Yo-jong meets Moon Jae-in in Seoul
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (R) poses with Kim Yo-jong (L) earlier than a gathering on the presidential Blue Home in Seoul
AFP/Getty Photographs

Whereas North-South relations are seemingly having fun with a thaw, the US has remained cautious.

On the video games’ opening ceremony on 9 February, Vice President Mike Pence made a point of not greeting the North Korean delegation, regardless of being seated simply metres away. On the dinner forward of the ceremony, Pence was on account of share a desk with Kim Yo-Jong and Moon Jae-in, however left earlier than the meal started.

Mike Pence Kim Yo-jong Winter Olympics
Kim Yo-jong (high proper) sat simply metres away from Mike Pence on the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Photographs

When requested about diplomatic engagement with the North on his manner again from the video games, Pence advised the Washington Submit, “If you wish to speak, we’ll speak”. Nonetheless, he confused that US President Donald Trump’s “most strain marketing campaign” on North Korea would proceed on the similar time.

“The purpose is, no strain comes off till they’re really doing one thing that the alliance believes represents a significant step towards denuclearisation,” he stated. “So the utmost strain marketing campaign goes to proceed and intensify.”

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