Moon considering meeting one-on-one with N. Korea’s ceremonial leader: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL, Feb. 5 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in is considering holding a one-on-one meeting with North Korea's ceremonial head of state set to visit South Korea this week to attend the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, officials said Monday.

The North notified the South on Sunday night that Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, will visit the South from Friday to Sunday as head of a high-level delegation to the Winter Olympics set to kick off Friday.

"President Moon will be meeting with Kim, beginning with the Olympic opening ceremony," an official of the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae told Yonhap News Agency, referring to spontaneous encounters they are expected to have during Olympic events that both will be attending.

"But it is something that should be discussed with the North's advance delegation whether Kim will separately pay a visit to President Moon," the official said.

Another Cheong Wa Dae official said that no decision has been made on a one-on-one meeting, but it is something that should be looked into.

"As it has just been announced, we need to review it," the official said.

Noting that it would be the first time for Kim to visit the South, a third presidential official said the government is studying what the schedule should look like.

Sources said that Moon was briefed on Kim's visit as soon as it was notified.

Kim is expected to attend Friday's opening ceremony, as well as a preliminary round match of a unified women's ice hockey team of the two Koreas on Saturday. On Sunday, he is expected to attend a performance that the North's art troupe will be holding in Seoul.

"There has been no specific request from the North for a meeting (with Moon) yet," a Cheong Wa Dae official said. But the official said the North's decision to send Kim is believed to have been made out of "goodwill."

"The fact that North Korea's constitutional head of state is coming not only sends a message to the South, but it also includes a message to overseas countries," the official said.

Kim's visit also raised the possibility of him meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, but officials declined to discuss it.

"This is not something that the South Korean government should comment on," an official said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency