South Korea is sending a high-ranking delegation, which includes the country's spy chief and top security adviser, to Pyongyang as a result of the recent sports diplomacy, President Moon Jae-in has announced.
Tensions in the Korean peninsula have relatively eased in recent weeks after the North Korean regime agreed to send its athletes to take part in the Olympics, which were hosted by its southern neighbour. The move was widely expected to at least lead to further discussions between the Koreas.
"Special envoys to the North is in reciprocation to Kim Jong Un's special envoy Kim Yo Jong's visit to the South," the South Korean presidential office said in a statement. The trip was widely expected as the two Koreas made significant advancement in terms of rapprochement on the sidelines of the Olympics event.
National Security Office (NSO) head Chung Eui-yong and National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Suh Hoon, who has spearheaded inter-Korea negotiations in the past, will head to Pyongyang on Monday, 5 March, for a two-day trip. They will fly directly to the North Korean capital in a special aircraft. This is the first time South Korean delegates are travelling to Pyongyang in nearly a decade.
The South Korean presidential spokesman added: "Especially, (the delegation) will hold discussions on the creation of conditions for North Korea-US dialogue aimed at denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and the development of South-North Korea relations."
The US has been informed of the latest development. The South Korean delegation will also travel to Washington following their North Korea trip in order to brief the administration of US President Donald Trump on the talks.
It is still unclear whether the South Korean envoys will have an opportunity to directly meet the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Else, they are likely to hold negotiations with other top-ranking officials of the regime.
This will be the first time Kim will be meeting a South Korean delegation since taking charge of North Korea, if he decides to meet the team.