North Korea has said it is willing to start direct talks with the US, with the move coming as a high-level delegation from Pyongyang, headed by a controversial general, arrived for the Winter Olympics closing ceremony.
Pyongyang also said the relationship between the two Koreas and US-North Korean ties should advance in tandem, according to South Korea’s presidential Blue House. The announcement on Sunday comes after president Moon Jae-in met the head of the North Korean delegation, Kim Yong-chol, vice-chair of the ruling Workers’ party’s central committee.
The eight-person team from North Korea includes officials responsible for its nuclear programme and, in a rare move, diplomats in charge of US issues.
The makeup of the group suggests Pyongyang is looking for a breakthrough in the diplomatic impasse and economic sanctions resulting from its nuclear and missile tests, and could signal a desire for more substantial talks compared with an earlier visit by Kim Jong-un’s sister during the opening ceremony.