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S. Korean culture minister says Kim Jong-un 'sincere' about improving inter-Korean ties

All Headlines 18:50 April 12, 2018

SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-whan said Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is serious about trying to improve inter-Korean ties, adding that it is a cause for optimism with the Seoul-Pyongyang summit just days away.

In an interview with CNN, Do said Kim seemed "sincere and genuine" about wanting to improve relations with Seoul during their meeting at a K-pop concert in Pyongyang earlier this month.

This image captured from the Joint Press Corps broadcast footage shows South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-whan (R) speaking to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a South Korean music performance at East Pyongyang Grand Theatre in Pyongyang on April 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

The concert, held prior to the third inter-Korean summit on April 27, was the latest sign of thawing relations on the divided Korean Peninsula. In addition to meeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim is also scheduled to sit down with U.S. President Donald Trump later this year.

After the Pyongyang show, Kim said he hoped there would be a similar performance in Seoul in the fall this year, and Do said it spoke volumes about Kim's determination to make these upcoming summits work.

"For him to propose a performance in Seoul in the autumn after having two successful summits shows his willingness to participate in the two summits," Do was quoted as saying. "If (the inter-Korean summit) doesn't work out, it's bad for everyone, to South Korea, China, North Korea and the U.S. If it does work out, meaning both the inter-Korean and nuclear issues get resolved, it's good for everyone."

Do added that Kim was "completely different from the person featured in news reports," and said he spoke about a wide range of topics, including music, culture and sports.

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