North Korea praises South after delegates return from Olympic visit
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has welcomed "the warm climate of reconciliation" after a delegation returned from their three-day trip to the South. Both sides have appeared to present possible reconciliatory measures.
Diplomatic rapprochement between the two Koreas continued to be a major event at the Winter Olympics on Tuesday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un praised the South's "very impressive" and "sincere efforts" in welcoming his delegation to the host city of Pyeongchang.
The success of the delegation's three-day visit to the Games had reaffirmed the importance of boosting the "warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue" between the two sides, the North's state-run KCNA agency reported Kim as saying.
"After receiving the delegation's report, Kim Jong Un expressed satisfaction over it and said that very impressive were the features of the south side which specially prioritized the visit of the members of the DPRK side who took part in the Winter Olympics," KCNA said.
After months of rebuffing invitations from Seoul to attend the Olympics, Pyongyang performed an about-face at the turn of the year.
The delegation included the North Korean leader's sister, Kim Yo Jong, who became the first member of the North's ruling dynasty to step foot in the South since the 1950-1953 Korean war.
There, she captured worldwide headlines by shaking hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, cheering on the joint Korean ice hockey team with him and extending her brother's invitation to an upcoming summit in Pyongyang.
Such an inter-Korea summit, which would be the first since 2007 should it go ahead, would follow months of international tensions and sanctions over Pyongyang's weapons program. Those tensions were only ratcheted up further on the back of several fiery exchanges of words between Kim and US President Donald Trump.
Dialogue and future relations
KCNA also reported that Kim Jong Un wished to build on the newly established rapprochement and set up the conditions that would allow for a resumption in diplomatic dialogue.
Kim had "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," KCNA reported.
South Korea, meanwhile, said on Monday its first order as part of any future dialogue with its neighbor would be to push ahead with a proposal to reunite families separated by the Korean War.
dm/se (AP, AFP, dpa)