N Korea's Kim 'to advance' closer ties with South

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un wants to advance Korea ties, makes agreement with South: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) greets Chung Eui-yong, chief of South Korea's National Security Office, in Pyongyang on Monday.

His South Korean counterpart, President Moon Jae-in, said that even while Seoul engaged Pyongyang in dialogue, the military should focus "all its power" to boost its defence capabilities to counter North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes.

The first inter-Korean summit took place between former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the late father of current leader Kim Jong Un, and former liberal South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

Before leaving Seoul on Monday, National Security Office head Chung said his team would deliver a letter from South Korean President Moon Jae In in which he writes about the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

Tensions and fears of conflict on the Korean Peninsula have soared, prompted by bellicose insults and barbed threats between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

The statement from South Korea gave no indication that North Korea would start dismantling nuclear or missile programs in the immediate future.

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Given the history of bloodshed, threats and animosity on the Korean Peninsula, there is considerable scepticism over whether the Koreas' apparent warming relations will lead to lasting peace.

Until now, North Korea has said its nuclear weapons were not for bargaining away.

However, the state-run media did not mention the issue of denuclearization or dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

Moon sent Chung and four other top government officials to Pyongyang Monday, when they met with Kim and some of his top aides.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un has told envoys from the South that his country is willing to begin negotiations with the United States on giving up its nuclear weapons.

North Korea appears to have changed its tone after repeatedly declaring its nuclear arsenal nonnegotiable and reserving the right to attack U.S. forces stationed in South Korea.

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Previous warming ties between the Koreas have come to nothing amid North Korea's repeated weapons tests and the North's claims that the annual US-South Korean war games are a rehearsal for an invasion.

The agency did not provide details on what that agreement was but an official from the presidential Blue House in Seoul said it partially addressed the summit offer made by the North.

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

"President Moon is falling for Kim Jong-un's double talk", said a middle-aged man. But there's also hope they might be able to ease a standoff over North Korea's nuclear ambitions and restart talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

With the South Korean delegation in town, the most senior to visit North Korea in more than a decade, Kim seemed to cherish a role he rarely gets to take - that of a magnanimous head of state welcoming important foreign guests.

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