North Korea adamant not to meet US for dialogue
Saturday will witness South Korean President Moon Jae’s meeting with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un. She is leading his country’s delegates to the PyeongChang Olympic Games.
According to Seoul based Korea Herald, Cheong Wa Dae, an official from President’s palace, on Thursday, described the highlights of the recent rapprochement between the two Koreas facilitated by the North’s participation in the Winter Olympic Games.
The Yonhap news agency reports that Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-Kyeom said, “President Moon plans to hold a meeting and have lunch with the North Korean delegation on Feb. 10,” However, Dae did not disclose the location of the planned meeting.
South Korea’s unification ministry said that the North’s official delegation is scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Friday.
The 22-member delegation will be headed by the communist state’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam and North Korean leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, the director of the propaganda and agitation department of the Workers Party of Korea.
Kim Yong-nam is the President of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, a position he has held since 1998. He has also served as country’s foreign minister from 1983 to 1998.
South Korean President’s meeting with the North Korean delegates will be held one day after they attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Olympic Games on Friday.
“The high-level North Korean delegation will attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 9,” the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.
In a related development, Jo Yang Sam, Director General of North Korea’s foreign ministry, said on Thursday that they “had never “bagged the US for dialogue”. He said “We have no intention to meet the US side during our visit to South Korea,” Jo said in a terse statement reported by state-run news agency KCNA.
Jo’s comments came after US Vice President Mike Pence left the door open for negotiations earlier this week when he said, “I haven’t requested any meeting. But we’ll see what happens.”
CNN reports that diplomatic sources told that despite outwardly positive signs and indications of a “charm offensive” from Pyongyang, what’s “unclear and bizarre” is there has not been any diplomatic movement shown by North Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in line with current events.
Before departing for Asia, US Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading his country’s Olympic delegation, fuelled speculation of a potential meeting by telling reporters that he had not ruled out meeting with the North Koreans on the sidelines in PyeongChang.
US Vice President Mike Pence left Washington on Monday for a trip to Japan and South Korea.