South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump held a telephone conversation Thursday night over possible preliminary talks between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Yonhap news agency reported.
The phone talks between Moon and Trump, the first in about a month, were held at around 10 p.m. local time (1300 GMT), Yoon Young-chan, senior press secretary for the South Korean president, was quoted as saying.
Moon explained to Trump that the DPRK had shown its willingness to talk with the United States, persuading the U.S. president to get into an exploratory dialogue with Pyongyang to figure out what the DPRK intends to do while keeping a stance of maximum pressure on the Asian country.
A high-ranking DPRK delegation to the closing ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics, which was held Sunday in South Korea's east county of PyeongChang, conveyed top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un's message that Pyongyang had "enough" willingness to hold a dialogue with Washington.
Kim Yong Chol, a vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea who led the DPRK delegation, said "doors are open" for talks with the United States, raising a possibility for preliminary talks between Pyongyang and Washington.
The DPRK leader had sent his younger sister Kim Yo Jong to the Olympic opening ceremony. The younger Kim met with Moon, extending the DPRK leader's invitation to the South Korean president to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time.
In response, Moon told the younger Kim that the two Koreas should create conditions to realize the possible third inter-Korean summit, asking the DPRK side to more actively engage in a dialogue with the United States.
The first inter-Korean summit was held in Pyongyang in 2000, followed by the second one there in 2007.