S Korean delegation heads to Pyongyang to push North-US talks

S Korean delegation heads to Pyongyang to push North-US talks

Seoul: A South Korean delegation left for North Korea on Monday, a presidential official said, aiming to bring the North and the United States together for talks in a bid to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Both North Korea and the United States have expressed willingness to talk, but US President Donald Trump demands the North “denuke” first.
The North, which has vowed never to give up its nuclear deterrent against US hostility, says it will not sit down to talks under preconditions.
Reclusive North Korea, which has made no secret of its pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the mainland United States in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, is also concerned over a joint US – South Korea military exercise, which it sees as a preparation for war.
South Korean officials have said the drill will start next month as planned, after being postponed for the Winter Olympics held last month in the South.
The 10-member South Korean delegation, headed by National Security Office head Chung Eui-yong, left from Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, near the capital, the official said, on condition of anonymity.
“We will deliver President Moon Jae-in’s wish to bring about denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and permanent peace by extending the goodwill and better inter-Korean relations created by the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” Chung said at the presidential Blue House before he left.
The delegation hopes to speak with North Korean officials on starting dialogue between the North and the United States as well as other countries, he added.
The delegation includes National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon and Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung.