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07 March 2018, 07:34 | Rufus Hill
South Koreans meet North Korea's Kim to urge talks with US
The SouthKorean official said the North also confirmed it will not resume strategic provocations, including additional nuclear or ballistic missile tests while "talks" are under way, noting the North also promised not to use conventional or nuclear weapons against the South.
Sputnik spoke to Tom Harper, Doctoral Researcher in Politics, at the University of Surrey about meeting between South Korean delegation and with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and what it could mean for north south relations and talks with the US.
The first inter-Korean talks in more than two years were held early this year to bring North Korea to the Winter Olympics, when South Korea and the United States also postponed an annual joint large-scale military exercise that North Korea views as a preparation for invasion.
"The Supreme Leader [Kim] listened to the intentions of President Moon Jae-in regarding a summit meeting and exchanged his views and saw a satisfactory agreement", the Korean Central News Agency said.
It will only be the third meeting between the two countries since the Korea War ended in 1953.
Photos distributed by the North showed a beaming Kim dressed in a dark Mao-style suit and holding hands with Moon's national security director, Chung Eui-yong, the leader of the 10-member South Korean delegation.
He also cited the North as saying it would not carry out nuclear or missile tests while talks with the United States were under way.
While Pyongyang has long said it is willing to talk to the USA without preconditions, it is also adamant it will not give up the "treasured sword" of its nuclear weapons, which it says it needs to defend itself from a possible invasion by the United States.
Many believe that North Korea is simply trying to use improved ties with the South to weaken US-led worldwide sanctions and pressure.
North Korea later sent athletes to the Olympics, as well as a high-ranking delegation that included Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong.
The two Koreas also agreed to open communication hotline between Moon and Kim to "defuse military tension and to have close coordination", Chung said today.
"We are willing to engage North Korea to emphasize our position that the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is non-negotiable".
It is a challenging task - in defiance of United Nations sanctions, the isolated and impoverished North a year ago staged its most powerful nuclear test and test-fired several missiles, some of them capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Kim Yo Jong attended the Winter Olympics opening ceremony last month.
North Korea has so far rejected the idea.
The South Korean delegates are scheduled to hold follow-up discussions before returning to the South on Tuesday evening.
The delegation is expected to visit Washington later this week to brief United States officials on their talks in the North.
Just over an hour later, he added: "Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea".
"Kim Jong Un as a leader has kept himself highly circumscribed".
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