World News

South Korea's Moon vows to bolster defenses while talking peace with North

Posted March 6, 2018 1:09 a.m. EST

— South Korean President Moon Jae-in says the country will continue to bolster its military defenses while talking with Pyongyang about ridding the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

The President's comments came as a high-level South Korean delegation prepared to wrap up a trip to North Korea, where delegates held an historic four-hour meeting with reclusive leader Kim Jong Un.

"We have started our journey for peace and prosperity with confidence that we can build denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula with our own strength," Moon told graduating students at the Korean Military Academy -- South Korea's equivalent of the US military academy West Point.

"But at the same time, we have to do our best to build countermeasure capability for North Korea's nuclear weapons and missiles."

Moon sent a high-level delegation north after receiving a personal invitation from Kim to visit Pyongyang during last month's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The invitation was delivered by Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, who is considered one of his closest confidantes.

Excluding basketball legend Dennis Rodman and former high-ranking Chinese official Liu Yunshan, the officials from Seoul are believed to be the first non-North Koreans Kim Jong Un has spoken with face-to-face since taking the reins of the hermit nation after his father passed away in 2011.

North Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong, who led the South Korean group, is expected to address the media upon his return to Seoul Tuesday evening. He will then travel to Washington with National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon to discuss the trip with his American counterparts.