This file picture taken on Dec 13, 2007, shows DPRK's chief delegate Kim Yong-chol (center) and DPRK soldiers crossing the border which divides ROK and DPRK to attend the inter-Korean general talks at truce village of Panmunjom, in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas since 1950-53 Korean War. (JO YONG-HAK / POOL / AFP)
SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) said it approved the Winter
Olympic visit by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's (DPRK) Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, in the pursuit of peace and asked for
Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea will lead a high-level delegation at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Sunday
Kim will lead a high-level delegation at the closing ceremony of
the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Sunday. The delegation will also meet
President Moon Jae-in.
READ MORE: ROK: DPRK to send top team to Olympics closing ceremony
Kim was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top DPRK military intelligence agency.
"Under current difficult circumstances, we have decided to focus on whether peace on the Korean peninsula and improvement in inter-Korean relations can be derived from dialogue with (the visiting North Korean officials), not on their past or who they are," said Unification Ministry Baik Tae-hyun in a media briefing on Friday. DPRK is also referred to as North Korea.
An ROK lawmaker briefed by the country's spy agency said on Friday that Kim was the "right person" for inter-Korean and denuclearisation talks, according to Yonhap news agency.
"Kim Yong-chol is the top official regarding inter-Korean relations and he is being accepted (here) as the right person to discuss various issues like easing military tension, improving inter-Korean ties and denuclearisation," said Kang Seok-ho to reporters from Yonhap and other agencies.
Kim currently heads the United Front Department, the DPRK's office responsible for handling inter-Korean affairs.
His visit will coincide with a visit by US President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, who is scheduled to arrive in ROK later on Friday to attend a dinner with Moon and later, the Winter Olympics' closing ceremony.
The Blue House has said there are no official opportunities for US and DPRK officials to meet.
DPRK leader Kim Jong-un said he wants to boost the "warm climate
of reconciliation and dialogue" with ROK after a high-level delegation
returned from the Winter Olympics, while the United States has stressed the need
to intensify pressure to force DPRK to give up his nuclear weapons.
Last year, DPRK conducted dozens of missile launches and its
sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions. However,
it has now been more than two months since its last missile test in late