North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States on a range of issues including Pyongyang's nuclear development program, a ranking North Korean official told South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Kim Yong Chol, a senior official of the North's ruling Worker's Party in charge of inter-Korean relations, made the remarks at a meeting Sunday with Moon in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Moon's presidential office announced the overture in a statement picked up by South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The former North Korean spy chief was sitting just a few feet away from Ivanka Trump, President Trump's daughter, at the closing ceremony Sunday, but the two did not interact. Ivanka Trump, who was leading the U.S. delegation, briefed Moon on the latest set of sanctions and delivered a personal message from her father after she arrived in Seoul on Friday for her four-day visit.
The North Korean attaché Kim Yong Chol, in South Korea for the end of the Olympics, is a controversial character in the South, suspected by Seoul of having masterminded two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans.
Moon spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said the president urged that U.S.-North Korea "be held at an early date ... for an improvement in the South-North Korea relationship and the fundamental resolution of Korean Peninsula issues."
"The North Korean delegation, too, agreed that North Korea-U.S. relations must develop along with the South-North Korea relationship," Kim Eui-kyeom said.