S. Korea plans to push for US-North dialogue

In pursuit of lasting peace

South Korean officials announced Sunday that South Korea's president will send a delegation to Pyongyang later this week for talks aimed at easing nuclear tensions and trying to lay the groundwork for talks between the US and the North, CBS News' Pamela Falk reports.

Before leaving Seoul, Chung Eui-yong, the head of the presidential national security office who is leading the 10-strong delegation, said the key aim was denuclearisation.

A ten-strong diplomatic delegation from South Korea will visit the North in an attempt to ease tensions and pave the way for talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

The envoys will then travel to Washington to discuss the result of the meeting, Yoon said, adding that South Korea will closely coordinate with Japan and China.

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President Donald Trump responded by saying talks will happen only "under the right conditions".

It was unclear if Mr Trump was joking or if formal US-North Korea talks were imminent.

The White House's statement following the Trump-Moon phone conversation said the two leaders "noted their firm position that any dialogue with North Korea must be conducted with the explicit and unwavering goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization".

Its nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistics programs are pretty much all that the Pyongyang regime has in its hand in any negotiations, particularly with the United States.

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North Korea's state-run media on Saturday quoted a foreign ministry official as saying "that there had been no case at all where the North sat with the U.S. on any precondition and that there will be no case in future". "They said that, 'We would like to talk.' And I said, 'So would we, but you have to denuke, you have to denuke,"' Mr. Trump told attendees at the dinner, according to a pool report of his remarks. If that meeting is realized, Chung and others would become the first South Korean officials to meet Kim in person since he took power upon his dictator father's death in late 2011. -North Korea talks, but the United States requiring the North to abandon its programs publicly and pre-emptively, in advance of talks, is just another way for Washington to avoid discussions.

Though Chung is officially leading the delegation, the attendance of Suh Hoon, South Korea's spy chief, could signal that the two sides are laying the groundwork for Moon to eventually meet with North Korean leader Kim in person.

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

However, the North and South resumed dialogue in January after a two-year gap in order to discuss joint participation in the Winter Olympics.

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Team will try to explore possibility of a visit by President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang, after invitation by Kim Jong-un. The inference is he would focus on American targets, including possibly USA bases in South Korea.

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