Kim Yo Jong Fascinates, And Puzzles, In South Korea

Armchair Olympians

Armchair Olympians

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister joined South Korea's president at a concert Sunday as she wound up a whirlwind round of Olympic diplomacy capped by an invitation to hold the first summit between the two adversaries in more than a decade.

The North Korean delegation was invited to lunch with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon at the five-star Walkerhill Hotel in eastern Seoul on Sunday, an official at the prime minister's office told Reuters.

"We will fully cooperate with worldwide efforts regarding sanctions against North Korea based on our stance for a denuclearised Korean peninsula and a peaceful solution (to the North Korea nuclear issue)", the statement said.

"Moon should realize that offering economic benefits for symbolic North Korean gestures is not only ineffectual but would themselves risk being violations of United Nations resolutions", Klingner said.

Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state who was also at Saturday's meeting, said "even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations".

"You must have had a hard time due to the cold weather", Moon said as he greeted Kim Yo-jong, referring to the frigid temperatures during Friday's opening ceremony.

The North Korean diplomatic initiative comes amid growing global pressure, led by the United States, aimed at imposing maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime.

The latest North Korean diplomatic overture does not appear to have discouraged Washington from pursuing its strategy of pressure.

South Korea said on Monday it will try to arrange more reunions for families divided by the Korean War and seek to lower military tensions with North Korea as the first steps towards establishing grounds for a rare summit between the two Koreas.

"The inter-Korean relations should be mended by the parties concerned at any cost", Moon was quoted by the agency as adding. The North Korean delegation also included the country's 90-year-old head of state, Kim Yong Nam.

Accepting North Korea's demand to transport more than 100 members of the art troupe by sea, South Korea treated the Mangyongbong-92 ferry as an exemption to the maritime sanctions it imposed on the North, a controversial move amid concerns that the North is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in worldwide sanctions.

"Although many Koreans are welcoming North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are also significant criticism and concerns both domestically and internationally", the statement said.

"We should firmly keep in mind any talks where denuclearisation is not a precondition only buy North Korea more time to complete its nuclear capabilities while they fool us with their peace offensive façade", said Chang Je-won, spokesman for the Liberty Korea Party.

"What can not be overlooked is that Moon did not directly demand North Korea to abandon its nuclear development". The U.S. -led worldwide community has been tightening the screws on North Korea with sanctions created to punish its economy and rein in its efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and missile program, which now includes developmental long-range missiles targeting the U.S. mainland.

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