S. Korea’s Moon to send special envoys to North on Monday

SEOUL South Korean President Moon Jae In is sending a 10-member team of special envoys - including Seoul's spy chief - to the North today to push for talks between Washington and Pyongyang on nuclear weapons.

The delegation, announced by Mr Moon's office yesterday, is the latest chapter in a remarkable Olympics-driven detente between the two Koreas.

The rapprochement saw the two foes march together at the South's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that ended on Feb 25, with the North's leader Kim Jong Un sending his sister as a special envoy to the event.

Mr Moon chose five senior officials - including national security adviser Chung Eui Yong and spy chief Suh Hoon - to visit Pyongyang, the president's spokesman said.

Mr Suh is a veteran in dealings with the North.

He is known to have been deeply involved in negotiations to arrange two previous inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007.

The delegation will meet "high-level North Korean officials" during the two-day trip, and then fly to the United States to explain the result of the talks to officials in Washington, the spokesman added.

The team's Pyongyang trip may be a first step towards creating the conditions for a summit meeting, said Mr Cheong Seong Chang, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think-tank.

"You can't expect them to produce any major agreement with this trip alone, but maybe they could at least discuss ways to stop the North from conducting any more (ballistic missile) tests," he said. - AFP