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S. Korean culture minister says Kim Jong-un 'sincere' about improving inter-Korean ties

2018/04/12 18:50

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SEOUL, April 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-whan said Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is serious about trying to improve inter-Korean ties, adding that it is a cause for optimism with the Seoul-Pyongyang summit just days away.

In an interview with CNN, Do said Kim seemed "sincere and genuine" about wanting to improve relations with Seoul during their meeting at a K-pop concert in Pyongyang earlier this month.

This image captured from the Joint Press Corps broadcast footage shows South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-whan (R) speaking to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a South Korean music performance at East Pyongyang Grand Theatre in Pyongyang on April 1, 2018. (Yonhap) This image captured from the Joint Press Corps broadcast footage shows South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-whan (R) speaking to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a South Korean music performance at East Pyongyang Grand Theatre in Pyongyang on April 1, 2018. (Yonhap)

The concert, held prior to the third inter-Korean summit on April 27, was the latest sign of thawing relations on the divided Korean Peninsula. In addition to meeting South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim is also scheduled to sit down with U.S. President Donald Trump later this year.

After the Pyongyang show, Kim said he hoped there would be a similar performance in Seoul in the fall this year, and Do said it spoke volumes about Kim's determination to make these upcoming summits work.

"For him to propose a performance in Seoul in the autumn after having two successful summits shows his willingness to participate in the two summits," Do was quoted as saying. "If (the inter-Korean summit) doesn't work out, it's bad for everyone, to South Korea, China, North Korea and the U.S. If it does work out, meaning both the inter-Korean and nuclear issues get resolved, it's good for everyone."

   Do added that Kim was "completely different from the person featured in news reports," and said he spoke about a wide range of topics, including music, culture and sports.

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