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Report: North & South Korea Have 'Openhearted' Four-Hour Talk

03-05-2018
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Ten members of a South Korean special delegation met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un Monday for what South Korean President Moon Jae-in called "an openhearted talk."

It's the first time South Korean officials have met with the young North Korean leader since he rose to power in 2011 after his dictator father's death.

North Korea’s state media said Kim expressed his desire to “write a new history of national reunification” during a dinner Monday night that Seoul said lasted about four hours.

During the rest of the two-day visit, the South Korean envoys will focus on establishing conditions for talks aimed at getting rid of the North's nuclear weapons, as well as dialogue between the US and Pyongyang.

Relations between the Koreas warmed during the Winter Olympics held in PyeongChang, South Korea last month.

Chung Eui-yong, the leader of South Korea's delegation, had earlier told a press briefing he would deliver President Jae-in's "resolution to maintain the dialogue and improvement in relations between the South and the North... and to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula."

"I plan to hold in-depth discussions on various ways to continue talks between not only the South and the North but also the North and the United States," he added.

US Wants North Korea to 'Denuke'

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the US would be prepared to meet North Korea, but reiterated that Pyongyang would first have to "denuke."

However, North Korea – which has said it wants to talk to the US – said it was "preposterous" for the US to insist on preconditions.

"The US attitude shown after we clarified our intention for dialogue compels us to only think that the US is not interested in resuming... dialogue," the foreign ministry said in a statement reported by state media.

It remains unclear who would represent the US in any such meeting.

Pentagon Reaction

The Pentagon is "cautiously optimistic" about talks between Seoul and Pyongyang, US military spokesman Col. Robert Manning said on Monday after a 10-member South Korean delegation met with Kim.

"Our job is to make sure that we maintain those military operations to defend the Korean Peninsula and we will (stand) shoulder to shoulder with our South Korean partners in the ROK-US alliance," Manning told reporters, using an acronym for the Republic of Korea.

"But we are cautiously optimistic and obviously we encourage the dialogue to take place," Manning added.

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