Vastavam web: South Korea will dispatch a delegation led by senior security officials for a two-day visit to North Korea starting Monday, the presidential Blue House announced Sunday, as U.S. President Donald Trump hinted that he is ready to talk to Pyongyang.For its part, North Korea said it was not begging to talk with Washington and denounced upcoming U.S.-South Korean joint-military exercises, warning that it would take counter measures against the United States if they went ahead.
The drills will take place next month, a South Korean presidential security adviser said according to the Yonhap news agency. They had been delayed until after the Winter Olympics and Paralympic games in South Korea.The visit was part of an effort to lower tensions on the Korean peninsula as well as possibly arrange talks between North Korea and the United States, it said.
After the visit to North Korea the envoys will travel to the United States to brief officials, and Seoul said it would also coordinate closely with officials in Japan and China.Last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, while in South Korea for the Winter Olympics but the North Koreans cancelled at the last minute, U.S. officials said in February.
North Korea reiterated on Saturday that it was willing to talk to the United States but said it would never sit with any precondition.A North Korean foreign ministry spokesman was quoted by KCNA as saying“we will neither beg for dialogue nor evade the military option claimed by the U.S.”The Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last month gave a boost to recent engagement between the two Koreas after more than a year of sharply rising tensions over the North’s missile programme and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in hopes to capitalise on that thaw in relations by arranging talks over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme.In sending an envoy to Pyongyang, Moon said he would be seeking to reciprocate Kim Jong Un’s decision to send a senior delegation, including his sister, Kim Yo Jong, to the Olympics, marking the first visit by a member of the North’s ruling bloodline since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The White House has said any talks with North Korea must lead to an end of its nuclear programme, and on Feb. 23, the United States said it was imposing its largest package of sanctions to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programmes.