North Korean leader Kim Jong-un pledged efforts to continue the reconciliatory mood with South Korea as he welcomed back a high-ranking North Korean delegation from their trip to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, the North's state-run news agency said Tuesday.
"It is important to continue making good results by further livening up the warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue created by the strong desire and common will of the North and the South with the Winter Olympics as a momentum," Kim was quoted in English by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) as saying in a meeting with the delegation.
Wrapping up their trip last week, the delegation led by Kim Yong-nam, the chairman of the Presidium of the North Korean assembly, reported details of their South Korean visit to Kim, the KCNA said.
Kim Yo-jong, the leader's powerful sister, relayed her brother's invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the North during her trip to the South as a member of the delegation.
The sister made a detailed report about her meeting with Moon, as well as her observation of movement of the U.S. side, the report said, referring to her brief encounters with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who also came to South Korea last week.
"After receiving the delegation's report, Kim Jong-un expressed satisfaction over it," the KCNA reported. Kim said, "Very impressive were the features of the South side, which specially prioritized the visit of the members of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ... and expressed thanks for them."
Kim also "set forth in detail the orientation of the improvement of the North-South relations and gave important instructions to the relevant field to take practical measures for it," the report added.
The report marks the latest in a recent series of reconciliatory moves by the two Koreas. After North Korea's incessant ballistic missile tests and nuclear detonation test escalated tension on the Korean Peninsula last year, the two Koreas made a flurry of agreements on inter-Korean exchanges on the occasion of the on-going PyeongChang Olympics.
The fence-mending is also adding to hopes that the North may come out to negotiate denuclearization with Pence, who expressed willingness to talk to the North during his flight back to the U.S. last week.
Hwi Won firstname.lastname@example.org