She has apparently racked up a record so stellar that previous year the U.S. Treasury blacklisted her as a top North Korean official tied to “notorious abuses of human rights”.
Both officials agreed that Seoul would first engage with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s team – the two neighbors recently held landmark talks – after which the USA may follow suit, the Washington Post said.
The North Korean delegates, among them North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Yo-jong, concluded the three-day visit on Sunday and returned home.
Mattis’ remarks come after South Korean President Moon Jae-in was presented a formal invitation to visit North Korea, potentially setting up the first meeting of Korean leaders since 2007.
After North Korea stalled for months before even announcing that it would take part in the Pyeongchang Olympics, the Games have turned into an occasion for a stunning rapprochement on the Korean peninsula. Bloomberg has reported that the meeting which took place in the Presidential Palace was attended by the sister of the North Korean Dictator Kim Yo-Jong.
Trump has at times questioned the goal of further talks with the North after years of negotiations by previous U.S. administrations failed to halt the North’s weapons programmes.
She shook hands several times with the South’s President Moon Jae-in, cheered a unified ice hockey team with him, and conveyed her brother’s invitation to a summit in Pyongyang.
But he said it would be hard for Moon to keep up the momentum after conservatives at home and allies overseas remind him of what is at stake in the North Korean nuclear threat. But the prospect could sow division between the dovish leader, who has long argued for engagement with the nuclear-armed North to bring it to the negotiating table, and U.S. President Donald Trump, who a year ago traded personal insults and threats of war with Mr. Kim. North Korea has been ranked as the single worst nation in the world when it comes to Christian persecution for the past 16 years, according to Open Doors’ World Watch List. She is in charge of her brother’s public image and holds the power for policy-making in a rogue regime, and her presence in South Korea may signal a shift toward reunification.
In dispatching the highest level of government officials the North has ever sent to the South, Kim Jong Un revealed a sense of urgency to break out of deep diplomatic isolation in the face of toughening sanctions over his nuclear program, analysts say. “So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify”. We have said, from the diplomatic side, we are ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk.
Last January, the U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted her along with six other North Korean officials for “severe human rights abuses” and censorship that concealed the regime’s “inhumane and oppressive behavior”.
At the opening ceremonies on Friday, Pence sat stone-faced in his seat as Moon and North Korean officials stood together with much of the stadium to applaud their joint team of athletes.