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(LEAD) N. Korean leader, wife host Moon envoys at Workers' Party headquarters

All Headlines 08:46 March 06, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with more information in paras 7, 10-11; ADDS photos)

SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hosted South Korean envoys in what the North called a "satisfactory" meeting and dinner at the headquarters of the North's ruling Workers' Party, a spokesman for Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

It marked the first time for the communist state to invite South Korean officials to the headquarters of its powerful ruling party, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

In the photo provided by South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (2nd from R) is seen shaking hands with Chung Eui-yong, South Korean President Moon Jae-in's chief envoy, in their meeting held in Pyongyang on March 5, 2018. (Yonhap)

The meeting and dinner started at 6 p.m. Monday and lasted more than four hours. The South Korean envoys, led by the chief of the presidential National Security Office Chung Eui-yong, arrived in Pyongyang earlier that day seeking to broker talks between the North and the United States.

The dinner also involved Kim's highly veiled wife, Ri Sol-ju, Kim Eui-kyeom told a press briefing. Also present at Monday's meeting and dinner was the North Korean leader's younger sister, Yo-jong, who traveled to the South last month to deliver her brother's message for South Korean President Moon Jae-in, inviting him for what would be a third inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang.

The North's state media earlier said the country's supreme leader and the South Korean envoys discussed various issues, including the proposed summit, and that they reached a "satisfactory agreement."

Details of the agreement could not immediately be verified. Cheong Wa Dae said it has not yet received a full report of the meeting.

Still, a Cheong Wa Dae official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the visit by the South Korean envoys appeared "not to be disappointing."

The photo provided by South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (4th from R, top) and his wife Ri Sol-ju (5th from L, top) hosting a welcome dinner for special envoys of South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang on March 5, 2018. (Yonhap)

The 10-member South Korean delegation was set to return home later Tuesday after a follow-up meeting with North Korean officials in Pyongyang, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.

Moon earlier said his meeting with the reclusive North Korean leader would require a resumption of talks between the U.S. and North Korea, which he also called a prerequisite to restarting the international negotiations on peacefully ending the North's nuclear ambitions.

The South Korean delegation to the North also included the head of its spy agency, Suh Hoon.

Cheong Wa Dae earlier said he and Chung, the chief envoy, will travel to the U.S. shortly after their return from the North to explain the outcome of their meeting with the North Korean leader.


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