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Iran Press TV

South Korea's Moon informs Trump of plan to send special envoy to North Korea

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 1, 2018 07:07PM

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has told his American counterpart Donald Trump that he intends to send a special envoy to Pyongyang in response to an invitation by Kim Jong-un, the North's leader, following the recent Olympic-driven detente between the two Koreas.

"In response to the visit by North Korea's special envoy Kim Yo Jong, ... Moon conveyed to Trump his plans to dispatch a special envoy to the North soon," Seoul's presidential office said in a statement on Thursday, following their phone conversation.

It added that Moon and Trump further "agreed to continue their efforts to maintain the momentum for South-North dialogue so it may lead to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

The development came after Pyongyang, in a rare move, participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea, providing an opportunity for the two neighbors to resolve long-running hostilities. The two sides have exchanged diplomatic and high-level visits, and there is hope that relations could improve effectively.

The two neighbors have been separated by a heavily-militarized border since the three-year Korean War came to an end in 1953. The conflict ended with an armistice rather than a formal peace treaty and left many families separated at the two sides.

The situation on the Korean Peninsula has been tense due to Pyongyang's development of its nuclear and missile programs.

Moon has sought to use the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which concluded on Sunday, to open dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang in the hopes of easing a nuclear standoff that has caused global security fears.

The South Korean leader said earlier this week that Washington needed to "lower the threshold for talks" with Pyongyang.

Furthermore, senior North Korean officials visiting the South for the Winter Olympics said on Sunday that Pyongyang was open to talks with Washington.

However, the US has ruled out any possibility of negotiations before the North, which last year conducted multiple missile and nuclear tests, takes steps towards denuclearization.

The US and its allies in the West and in Asia engineered tough UN sanctions on North Korea last year when Pyongyang test-fired two missiles in July and then carried out its most powerful nuclear test in August.

However, many said the sanctions would not deter North Korea from pursuing its nuclear and missile program, which Pyongyang insists is part of its defense policy against the US. Critics have repeatedly warned that sanctions would more affect North Korean people rather than its military and the government.

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