South Korean delegation is set to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a dinner in Pyongyang on Monday evening, making it the first time South Korean officials meet Kim in person since he took power in 2011 after his father’s death.
The announcement came from President Moon Jae-in's office shortly after a 10-member South Korean delegation consisting of high-level officials landed on Monday in the capital of North Korea to meet its officials.
The envoys are in North Korea for their two-day visit. It remains unclear what will be discussed, but the communist state’s nuclear and missile program is believed to be the priority.
The hermit kingdom has reiterated its commitment to the nuclear program, claiming it cannot be subject of any negotiations.
China, the closest ally of North Korea, welcomed the visit by the South Korean envoys, expressing hope to see “a positive outcome of the meeting,” a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry said during a news conference on Monday.
"We hope all sides will bear in mind the larger picture of peninsular peace and stability ... and make joint efforts not only for better ties between the North and South but for the early accomplishment of denuclearization and lasting peace and stability on the peninsula," the spokesman added.
The expectations are high that the two Koreas can resume the talks and reduce the escalation in the region in the wake of North Korea’s successful participation in the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.