North Korea 'ready to hold talks with US' as Ivanka Trump and Kim Jong Un key aide sit inches apart at Winter Olympics closing ceremony

Sean Morrison
Evening Standard
Ivanka Trump sits in front of key North Korea aide Kim Yong Chol and the Winter Olympics closing ceremony: AP
Ivanka Trump sits in front of key North Korea aide Kim Yong Chol and the Winter Olympics closing ceremony: AP

North Korea is willing to open talks with the US in a potential rare step towards diplomacy between bitter rivals Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, South Korea has said.

The announcement came after the rogue regime’s Olympics delegate Gen Kim Yong-chol met South Korean President Moon Jae-in before the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka attended the ceremony on Sunday alongside the North’s delegate Kim Yong-chol.

Kim Yong-chol said the North Korean leader wanted to improve ties with Washington and had "ample intentions of holding talks", according to the South's presidential office.

Ivanka Trump stands at the beginning of the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea (Getty Images)
Ivanka Trump stands at the beginning of the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea (Getty Images)

The possibility of talks comes after Mr Trump and Kim Jong Un became embroiled in a public war of words over the North’s series of ballistic missile tests and nuclear programme.

Mr Trump said earlier this week that the US was imposing the “largest ever” set of sanctions on North Korea, including measures to target more than 50 of its ships and maritime companies.

The rogue state is already under a range of international and US sanctions, but it last year it continued to test weapons.

It also tested a nuclear weapon and long-range ballistic missile capable of hitting the US.

Today's announcement also came as US officials said the North had pulled out of a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence during the opening ceremony of the games.


What to read next