South Korean PM meets North Korean officials in Incheon

South Korean PM meets North Korean officials in Incheon

8Incheon (South Korea), Oct 4 (IANS)┬áSouth Korean Prime Minister Chung Hong-won met a high-level North Korean delegation Saturday twice before the visiting officials returned home after the Incheon Asian Games’ closing ceremony.

Chung met the North Koreans before the closing ceremony started. They met again after the 16-day regional sports extravaganza ended, officials said in Seoul. However, no detail of the discussions were revealed, Yonhap news agency reported.

The North Korean delegation drew keen media attention after it arrived in South Korea by plane early in the day on a surprise trip that analysts said could lead to better ties between the divided Korean states.

The visiting delegation was led by Hwang Pyong-so, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission and included Choe Ryong-hae, secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Kim Yang-go, head of the United Front Department.

The three are believed to be key confidants of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Earlier in the day, these officials had met South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae and National Security Adviser Kim Kwan-jin and agreed to hold another round of high-level talks in late October or early November.

When the prime minister briefly met the North Korean officials inside the stadium ahead of the event, he voiced hope for improved inter-Korean ties.

It marked the first time that a sitting South Korean prime minister has met with high-ranking North Korean officials since their prime ministerial talks in 2007 to discuss follow-up measures to the summit between then President Roh Moo-hyun and late leader Kim Jong-il.

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