March 22, 2018

Jong-un purges army top brass as coup threat grows

11 February 2018, 03:49 | Taylor George

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Following the visit that lasted nearly three hours, Seoul's Presidential Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters that the North Korean leader's sister delivered the message to Moon that Kim Jong-un would like a meeting.

Vice President Mike Pence was seated to the left of Moon and just a few feet away from the North Korean delegation in a row behind them.

The North Korean Supreme People's Assembly chief, Kim Young-nam, and leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, on Saturday met with President Moon Jae-in for a luncheon.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power past year on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile program. The daily said the two sides "discussed a range of issues concerning the two Koreas". Pence said the United States and South Korea were "closely aligned" in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults and threats of nuclear war as tensions rose, with Trump repeatedly dismissing the prospect or value of talks with North Korea.

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On Thursday, Seong-ho met and embraced Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier - the United States student who died in 2016 after being imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months.

Kim Yo-jong had arrived in Seoul for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Kim Yo-jong's visit to the South also marks the first time a member of North Korean founder Kim Il-song's family has crossed the inter-Korean border since the end of the 1950 Korean War.

The South Korean president in response proposed to work together to create an environment that is conducive for inter-Korean talks in North Korea.

The vice president has struck a hard line against North Korea during his trip to the Olympics in an effort to call what White House officials have dubbed a "charm offensive" by the North.

Pence and the North Korean delegation, who both attended the Games opening ceremony, had no contact with each other. It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.

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