Winter Olympics: Kim Jong-un calls for further reconciliation

North Korea’s leader has called for a “further livening up” of the “warm climate of reconciliation” with the South created by the Winter Olympics.

Kim Jong-un, whose nuclear bomb and missile tests have stoked international tension, praised the South for hosting his state at the games in Pyeongchang.

The North’s delegation, led by his sister Kim Yo-jong, has returned home.

South Korean President President Moon Jae-in has said the US is open to talking with the North.

He did not elaborate and may have been referring to a remark by US Vice-President Mike Pence on his flight back to Washington from the Games.

While the North’s attendance at the Games has been seen as marking a major warming in relations, there have also been concerns that it has allowed it to win a propaganda victory.

“After receiving the delegation’s report, Kim Jong-un expressed satisfaction over it,” North Korean news agency KCNA reports.

It said Mr Kim had been impressed by “the features of the south side, which specially prioritized the visit of the members of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea… and expressed thanks for them”.

Kim Yo-jong at the Pyeongchang OlympicsMs Kim’s visit has been one of the most talked-about aspects of the Games

The North Korean leader also suggested “further livening up the warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue” between both Koreas, it said, and gave “important instructions” on doing so.

The report included an unusually casual picture of Mr Kim flanked by his sister and the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, both holding on to him.

Soft propaganda

Ms Kim and Mr Kim Yong-nam made up the most senior delegation from the North to visit the South since the Korean War in the 1950s.

However, Ms Kim’s appearance at the Winter Games has been widely criticised, as she still remains on a US sanctions list over alleged links to human rights abuses in North Korea.


You could almost feel the ripple of excitement as Kim Yo-jong walked into the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. Necks craned and mobile phones were held aloft to catch a glimpse.

I found myself, along with others, leaning as far as I could over the balcony to try to see her in the VIP box below. The faces around the stadium all said one thing: she’s here, on South Korean soil.

She has given the secretive regime a human face.

The two Koreas have never signed a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, and are in a constant state of mutual distrust.

North Korean cheerleaders wearing masks during the ice hockey matchNorth Korea’s presence at the Games raised concerns about a propaganda victory

But in a further sign of a thaw in relations, on Saturday Ms Kim handed over a letter from her brother to President Moon, inviting him to visit Pyongyang.

If the summit goes ahead, it will be the first meeting in more than a decade between Korean leaders.

Mr Pence stressed the US would continue imposing sanctions and putting pressure on Pyongyang.

“The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization,” Mr Pence told the Post.

“So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify.”

Mr Pence came face to face with Ms Kim at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, but they did not interact.

US Vice-President Pence (R) was seated near Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong (L) at the opening ceremonyKim Yo-jong was seated in the row behind US Vice-President Mike Pence at the opening ceremony

Pyongyang’s continuing nuclear ambitions hang over any diplomatic interactions.

North Korea is subject to a raft of sanctions from the US, the UN and the EU over its weapons programmes.

Japan has said it remains sceptical about Pyongyang’s recent “charm offensive”.

“I am aware that some people argue that because North Korea is engaging in dialogue we should reward them,” Foreign Minister Taro Kono said ahead of the Games.

“Frankly I think this view is too naive. I believe that North Korea wants to buy some time to continue their nuclear missile programme.”

The Latest

Official news website for Abusua 96.5 FM, local radio station based in Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi. Abusua 96.5 FM is a member of the EIB Network, Africa's fastest growing media group

Copyright © 2018 Abusua 96.5 FM

To Top