High-level N. Korean delegates arrive in the South

The visit by Kim Yong Chol, heading an eight-member delegation that crossed the Demilitarized Zone Sunday morning, is the final piece of the Games-led diplomacy that has dominated headlines from Pyeongchang after months of tensions.

High-level N. Korean delegates arrive in the South

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday met a senior North Korean delegation led by a blacklisted general before the Winter Olympics closing ceremony, which will also be attended by US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka.

But the visit by Kim, accused of masterminding past attacks on the South, has sparked angry protests from conservatives.

Moon met Kim for about an hour beginning 5 pm (0800 GMT) in Pyeongchang, the presidential office said without elaborating.

The nuclear-armed North has gone on a charm offensive over the Games, sending athletes, cheerleaders and performers and with leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong attending the opening ceremony.

But Pyongyang Sunday slammed Trump's latest sanctions on its regime as "bringing clouds of war" over the peninsula.

"As we have stated on numerous occasions, we will consider any type of blockade an act of war against us, and if US has indeed the guts to confront us in 'rough' manner, we will not necessarily take the trouble to stop it," said a foreign ministry spokesman quoted by the official KCNA news agency.

Analysts say the North's overtures to the South are intended to loosen sanctions imposed over its banned nuclear and missile programmes, and an attempt to weaken the alliance between Seoul and Washington.

But Kim Yo Jong had no interaction with US Vice President Mike Pence at the opening ceremony just over two weeks ago, even though they were just a few seats apart. According to the US, a planned meeting between the delegations from Washington and Pyongyang the following day was cancelled at short notice by the North Koreans.

Moon also did not immediately accept an invitation passed on by Kim Yo Jong from her brother to a summit in Pyongyang, saying the right conditions must be created.

Washington, which describes its approach to Pyongyang as "maximum pressure and engagement", announced its new sanctions on Friday.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Şubat 2018, 14:15