Moon’s special envoys return home after two-day trip to N. Korea

SEOUL, South Korean President Moon Jae-in's special envoys returned home Tuesday following their two-day trip to reclusive North Korea on an apparent mission to broker talks between the communist state and the United States.

The delegation, led by Moon's top security adviser Chung Eui-yong, arrived at Seoul Air Base at 5:58 p.m., about one hour after its departure from Pyongyang's Sunan International Airport.

The North's Korean Central News Agnecy said the South Koreans were sent off by Kim Yong-chol, the North's point man on South Korea and a vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party.

The five envoys were hosted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju on Monday in what many South Koreans considered an exceptional move by the North's reclusive leader to mend ties between the two Koreas.

It was the first time the North Korean leader has met South Korean officials.

The envoys, including the head of South Korea's spy agency, Suh Hoon, were treated to a welcome dinner at the headquarters of the North's ruling Workers' Party, marking the first visit by any South Korean official to the facility, according to Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. The 10-member delegation included five support staff.

Details of the meeting have yet to be released but Cheong Wa Dae officials have said the trip appears to be "not disappointing."

The North's state media earlier said Kim and the envoys reached a "satisfactory" agreement after discussing his proposed summit with Moon.

Before heading to the North on Monday, Chung, head of the presidential National Security Office, said the main objective of the delegation included persuading the North to hold talks with the United States.

The trip comes after the North Korean leader invited Moon to visit Pyongyang at an early date. Kim conveyed the invitation through his younger sister, who visited Seoul as a special envoy last month.

Moon has welcomed the invitation, but says a meeting with Kim would require certain conditions, including a resumption of dialogue between the U.S. and the North for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Both Washington and Pyongyang have expressed willingness to talk to each other.

Washington, however, says such dialogue will only be possible under the right conditions.

Cheong Wa Dae has said the chief of Moon's special envoys to North Korea will soon visit the U.S. to directly explain the outcome of their trip to U.S. decision-makers, possibly including President Donald Trump.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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