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(LEAD) S. Korea's presidential office hails North's proposal on PyeongChang delegation

2018/01/01 17:05

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SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's presidential office welcomed Monday's proposal by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to send a delegation to the upcoming PyeongChang Olympics slated for next month.

"We welcome that Kim expressed willingness to send a delegation and proposed talks as he acknowledged the need for improvement in inter-Korean ties," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Park Soo-hyun told a press briefing. "The successful launch of the games will contribute to stability not only on the Korean Peninsula but also in East Asia and the rest of the world."

   In a televised message earlier, Kim said he could send a delegation to the games and is open to talks with Seoul. But he also made it clear that his country would not give up its nuclear and missile programs, and he claimed that a "nuclear button" is always on his desk.

Cheong Wa Dae stressed that it has always intended to hold talks with the North regardless of "time, place or manner" so long as such a meeting can help restore frayed relations and improve overall stability in the region.

"We hope to sit together (with the North) as concerned parties to find a solution to enhance stability on the peninsula while engaging with the international community in resolving the nuclear issue," the office said.