SEOUL. — South Korean President Moon Jae-in met yesterday with the head of a high-ranking delegation from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), local TV footage showed.
Moon greeted and shook hands with Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK, at a reception for leader-level guests visiting the country to attend the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics.
The reception was held in PyeongChang county, the Winter Olympic venue in eastern South Korea, just two hours before the opening ceremony begins at 8 p.m. local time (1100 GMT).
Kim, the top DPRK legislator, arrived in South Korea earlier in the day via a private jet, leading a ranking delegation that includes Kim Yo Jong, a younger sister of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un who serves as the first vice director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
Included in the DPRK delegation are Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. The four DPRK delegates will have a meeting and lunch with President Moon Saturday, according to South Korea’s presidential Blue House.
The 23rd Winter Olympics in South Korea’s eastern county of Pyeongchang had generated great interest as the world awaits to see if the leaders of the two Koreas meet at the opening ceremony of the games on Friday or after.
Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, arrived in PyeongChang earlier in the day with the DPRK delegation.
Pyongyang’s participation in the winter games was agreed on last month at a rare high-level dialogue between the two Koreas in the truce village of Panmunjom. It was the first of its kind in almost two years. Kim’s meeting with President Moon Jae-in is set to go down in history as one of the milestones of inter-Korea relations.
The following is a summary of high-level meetings between the two sides since 2000:
In June, 2000, then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il at Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang. They signed a joint communique on North-South reconciliation, easing of tensions, reunion of seperated family members and exchange in the field of economy and culture.
Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize for his “Sunshine Policy” toward Pyongyang later in the year. The two sides held frequent ministerial-level talks for a few years after the summit.
In October 2007, then South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun met with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, marking the second summit between the two Koreas since 2000.
In August 2009, then South Korean President Lee Myung-bak met with a condolence delegation led by DPRK senior officials in Seoul. The delegation bid farewell to late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.
In February 2014, the two Koreas held a high-level dialogue in Panmunjeom. It was the first since Park Geun-hye took over as the South Korean president. Kim Kyou-hyun, first deputy chief of the presidential national security office met his DPRK counterpart, Won Dong-yon, deputy head of the United Front Department of DPRK’s ruling WPK.
In August 2015, Kim Kwan-jin, chief security advisor to Park Geun-hye, met with Hwang Pyong So, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, in Panmunjeom, amid heightened tensions after an exchange of fire along the border. – Xinhua