North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has lauded the hospitality South Korea extended to his country’s delegation in the Winter Olympics, stressing the significance of building on the existing rapprochement to expand dialog on the divided Korean Peninsula.
Kim met the North Korean delegation, which was led by his sister, on its return in Pyongyang on Monday.
The North Korean leader hailed as “impressive” South Korea’s appreciation of the North’s presence and the welcome it gave its delegation, expressing gratitude to Seoul for its “sincere efforts.”
He further stressed that it was important to enhance “the warm climate of reconciliation and dialog” created by the Winter Olympics.
Kim gave instructions for “practical measures” to do so, the official KCNA news agency said, without providing further details.
Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, visited the South for the Winter Olympics. She was the first member of the ruling Kim family to cross the border into the rival South since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
During the visit, Kim’s sister verbally delivered South Korean President Moon Jae-in a personal invitation from the North’s leader for a summit meeting in Pyongyang.
At the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday, the South Korean president and the delegation from the North cheered as athletes from the two neighbors entered the arena and marched under a unified peninsula flag.
Seoul hopes to use the games — which will end on February 25 — as an opportunity to restore regular communication with Pyongyang and resolve a standoff over the North’s weapons programs.
The two neighbors have been separated by a heavily-militarized border since the end of Korean War.
Tensions have also been high over US military presence in the region, mainly in South Korea.