North Korea willing to talk to US, South Korea says

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN

(CNN) -- North Korea is willing to hold talks with the United States, South Korean President Moon Jae-In said in a statement Sunday.

The South Korean leader said he'd met with the North Korean delegation that's in Pyeongchang for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, and told them that North Korea-US talks should happen "as soon as possible."

Moon said the North Koreans indicated they were willing to talk with the US, and agreed that "the inter-Korean relationship and North Korea-US relationship should develop together."

Moon met for an hour with the North Korean delegation at an undisclosed location in Pyeongchang at 5 p.m. local time Sunday, three hours before South Korea prepared to host the carefully-choreographed closing ceremony.

As the lights dimmed on the stadium, delegates from North Korea and the US took their seats in the VIP box.

President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, who is attending the Olympics as a US Presidential Adviser, was seated just feet away from North Korean delegation leader Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the Party Central Committee and former head of North Korea's intelligence agency.

The inclusion of Kim, who's on the list of individuals sanctioned by the US and South Korea, was considered controversial, given his ties to a fatal torpedo attack on a South Korean warship in 2010.

Speculation of potential North Korea-US talks rose earlier Sunday when South Korea released the full list of North Korean delegates, which includes Choi Kang Il, the deputy director of North American affairs.

In his statement, Moon said he met all eight delegation members before speaking with leader Kim and Ri Son Kwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

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