Say what you will about Kim Jong-un. But North Korea’s baby-faced leader is a skilled politician.
Most of his people believe him to be a demigod. And despite years of international pressure, he’s kept the West at bay, marching stubbornly towards his dream of making North Korea a leading nuclear power.
With that in mind, South Korea would be well advised to take his latest overture with a healthy dose of salt.
At the end of the day, he’s likely just stalling for time.
Yet there is widespread optimism after North Korea’s reclusive leader Kim Jong-un asked South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang at the ‘earliest date’ possible for what will be a third inter-Korean summit, Kim’s sister told the South Korean leader on Saturday.
The invitation was delivered in a meeting between Moon and the North Korean leader’s sister, Yo-jong.
Kim Yo-jong was earlier considered part of a high-level North Korean delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, but Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said she was here as a special envoy of the North Korean leader. The spokeswoman told a press briefing:
‘While delivering a letter from Kim Jong-un, chairman of the State Affairs Commission, which contained his stated willingness to improve South-North Korea relations, special envoy Kim Yo-jong orally delivered Chairman Kim Jong-un’s invitation [for Moon] to visit the North at a time convenient to him, saying he is willing to meet President Moon Jae-in at the earliest date possible.’
Moon apparently cited the conditions necessary for an inter-Korean summit.
‘Let us make it happen by creating the necessary conditions in the future,’ he was quoted as saying.
The South Korean president also stressed the need for the communist North to resume its dialogue with the United States.
‘An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship,’ he said, according to his spokesman.
Saturday’s meeting also involved the North’s ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, who led what apparently turned out to be a 21-member delegation to the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics on Friday.
The Australian Tribune with AP