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Korean thaw: North invites South’s leader for summit in Pyongyang

By in Press Enterprise on February 10, 2018

By The Associated Press

By TONG-HYUNG KIM and FOSTER KLUG

The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — A rare invitation to Pyongyang for the South Korean president marked Day Two of the North Korean Kim dynasty’s southern road tour Saturday, part of an accelerated diplomatic warming that included more handshakes, some Korean liquor over lunch and the potential shared joy of watching a “unified” Korea team play hockey at the Olympics.

Nothing has been settled on any trip north by South Korean President Moon Jae-in. But the verbal message to come at a “convenient time” from dictator Kim Jong Un, delivered by his visiting little sister, Kim Yo Jong, is part of a sudden rush of improving feelings between the rivals during the Pyeongchang Olympics. The result: a heady, sometimes surreal, state of affairs in a South Korea that has seen far more threat than charm out of the North.

Still, it wouldn’t be South Korea if people weren’t asking the perennial question when it comes to North Korea changing gears and showering its rival with apparent affection: What’s in it for Pyongyang?

Past “charm offensives” have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear program, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its U.S. ally.

A massive military parade in Pyongyang on the eve of the just-opened Pyeongchang Games has been used as Exhibit A by skeptics: In it, Kim Jong Un highlighted several huge intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were successfully flight tested three times last year and could reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

Even so, there’s also cautious optimism, or curiosity at least. If peace isn’t imminent, a summit in Pyongyang between Moon and Kim Jong Un seems better to most than the threats of recent months.

Moon spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said Saturday that Moon told Kim Yo Jong […]    

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