Date
16 August 2017
Kim Jong-un plays with children during a visit to a hospital. Pyongyang officials took pains last week to deny rumors about Kim's health. Photo: Reuters
Kim Jong-un plays with children during a visit to a hospital. Pyongyang officials took pains last week to deny rumors about Kim's health. Photo: Reuters

Seoul eyes full-scale talks after Pyongyang group visit

South Korea is preparing for full-scale, high-level talks with North Korea after a landmark visit last week by top officials from Pyongyang amid rumors of Kim Jong-un’s health.

The North Korean delegation was led by Hwang Pyong-so, believed to be the second most powerful leader in the communist regime after Kim, Reuters reported Monday.

The North Koreans agreed to hold a new round of high-level talks between the two sides between late October and early November.

The South plans to offer a specific date and venue after internal discussions, a senior Seoul official was quoted as saying.

He said the government will carefully review the significance of the North’s bold move and prepare for follow-up dialogue but cautioned media against excessive optimism.

If the high-level talks are held, which would be the second of their kind under the Park Geun-hye administration, all pending inter-Korean issues, including a family reunion event, can be discussed, he added.

A pro-Pyongyang newspaper based in Japan, meanwhile, described the North Korean officials as Kim’s peace envoys.

Meanwhile, South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae said he had been told by a senior North Korean official that there is nothing wrong with Kim’s health, Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported

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