North Korea leader 'wants closer ties' with South

North Korea leader 'wants closer ties' with South

North Korea leader 'wants closer ties' with South

"The North showed a clear will to denuclearize and said that there would be no reason for it to possess nuclear weapons if military threats against North Korea were resolved and the security of its regime guaranteed".

The most senior South Koreans to travel to North Korea for more than a decade met leader Kim Jong Un Monday, a Seoul official said, the latest step in an Olympics-driven rapprochement on the divided peninsula.

Chung led a 10-member South Korean delegation on a two-day visit to North Korea.

"Panmunjom in late April", said Chung Eui-yong, the national security adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-In, referring to the truce village at the heavily fortified border.

Washington requested the sanctions following reports foreign traders are helping North Korea violate limits on oil imports and other trade imposed in an effort to pressure leader Kim Jong Un to stop nuclear and missile development. Those moves included the dispatch, by Pyongyang, of the first-ever member of North Korea's Kim clan to visit South Korea, and also of a senior general.

A group of high-level South Korean officials has left for North Korea for talks on North Korea's nuclear program and ways to help resume talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

The US President appeared upbeat yet wary after the rogue state claimed to be ready for "heart-to-heart" talks with the US on issues including North Korea abolishing its nuke programme.

The South Korean envoys are to meet with Kim on Monday evening.

While the report said Chung delivered Moon's letter to Kim, it made no mention of Moon's push for denuclearization and direct talks with the United States.

It is a challenging task - in defiance of United Nations sanctions, the isolated and impoverished North previous year staged its most powerful nuclear test and test-fired several missiles, some of them capable of reaching the USA mainland.

Many experts believe North Korea won't easily give up a nuclear program that it has doggedly developed, despite years of escalating global pressure, to cope with what it claims is US hostility. The visit comes in the wake of the thaw brought about by North Korea's attendance at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last month.

Mr Kim told visiting South Korean envoys it was his "firm will to vigorously advance" closer ties, the North's KCNA news agency said.

"The North Korean side expressed that they have the intention to talk frankly with the US in order to discuss the issue of denuclearization and to normalize North Korea-US relations", Chung said.

This is the first time that South Korean government officials have visited the main base of the North's top leadership.

The South Korean delegates are scheduled to hold follow-up discussions before returning to the South on Tuesday evening. Australian authorities have arrested a man accused of trying to broker sales of goods including components for ballistic missiles to North Korea.

A US official said Trump was in fact, referring to a March 1 phone call to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea - which is a USA ally.

Chung and Suh are due to fly to Washington later in the week to brief USA officials on their discussions in the North.

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