Kim Jong-un Personally Welcomes South Korean Envoys to Pyongyang

AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File
AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File

South Korean officials confirmed on Monday that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is personally hosting a dinner reception for special envoys sent by Seoul to discuss stabilizing bilateral relations, among other concerns.

South Korean outlets note a personal greeting from Kim is unprecedented since he took power in 2011.

A spokesman for the Blue House, South Korea’s presidential office, confirmed that “Chairman Kim Jong-un is currently hosting a dinner for the special envoys,” who arrived in the northern capital on Monday. The flight from capital to capital took about an hour.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has pursued a policy of inclusion and tolerance with the murderous North Korean regime, which has consistently repeated throughout negotiations with the south that it has no interest in abandoning its illegal nuclear weapons program and still considers the United States its primary target. Moon, nonetheless, provided North Korean dignitaries – including Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, who runs the nation’s belligerent “propaganda and agitation” department, and human rights criminal Kim Yong-chol – with a warm welcome and forced taxpayers to foot the bill for a hundreds-strong delegation from the communist country to attend the Winter Olympics.

Kim Jong-un described these concessions as “very impressive,” and Kim Yo-jong invited Moon to visit Pyongyang.

Moon has yet to visit, but his special envoys were entrusted with working towards creating a scenario that would make such a visit possible. The leader of the delegation, National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong, told reporters that his talks with the Kim regime would expand beyond bilateral ties.

“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 and the international community,” he told reporters, according to Yonhap.

“Most of all, I will deliver President Moon Jae-in’s sincere and firm resolve to maintain the dialogue and improvement in relations between the South and the North, which were fostered on the occasion of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula,” Chung added in a press conference before his departure.

Upon landing in Pyongyang, South Korea’s Joongang Daily reports, human rights criminal Kim Yong-chol escorted the South Koreans to their guest quarters before dinner. Neither side has yet to confirm what talks have consisted of, though the dinner may still be ongoing as of press time.

Prior to Moon’s tenure, North and South Korea had not engaged in bilateral talks for two years. Conservative President Park Geun-hye, whose parents were both assassinated by the Kim regime, took a hard line against the regime, calling for international cooperation to sanction and cripple the regime into submission. Park defeated Moon handily in elections but was impeached and arrested on unrelated claims that she afforded improper government access to members of a cult.

Moon’s leftist policies towards North Korea remain unpopular, however, and his treatment of the North while planning the Olympics visit sent his approval rating plummeting.

In addition to opposition within North Korea, Moon must contend with skyrocketing tensions between Pyongyang and Washington. Moon has said that dialogue between the two countries is necessary for him to consider meeting Kim Jong-un in person and personally alerted President Donald Trump via phone call to the current delegation to North Korea last week. The highest-ranking members of the delegation are reportedly scheduled to visit Washington after their trip to North Korea.

Judging from the content in North Korean state media, however, Kim Jong-un has no intention of softening his approach to the United States. In a Rodong Sinmun column published this weekend, the state newspaper condemned the “despicable” new round of sanctions against the regime as “a gangster-like act aimed to totally check the legitimate foreign trade of a sovereign state, and another vicious provocation violating the sovereignty and dignity of the DPRK.”

The column proclaimed North Korea superior to the United States militarily and the sanctions against Pyongyang “nothing but a last-ditch struggle of those who sustained a bitter defeat in the DPRK-U.S. decades-long nuclear standoff.”

On Sunday, President Donald Trump told reporters that he considered bilateral talks with North Korea possible, but only if “they de-nuke.” North Korean media responded that such a prerequisite is “more than ridiculous.”

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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