North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosted a high-level political delegation from the South for dinner Monday in Pyongyang and accelerated preparations for an inter-Korean summit.
Seoul, South Korea (CNN) - A letter from South Korean President Moon Jae-in was delivered to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday in Pyongyang during a visit by a high-ranking South Korean delegation, North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA reported.
Earlier Monday, Kim hosted a dinner for the delegation, according to a South Korean government official. Kim and the delegation discussed improving North-South relations and easing military tensions on the Korean peninsula, KCNA reported.
It's believed to be the first time the young leader has spoken face-to-face with officials from the South since he took power in 2011. Among those Kim met were South Korea's national security chief, Chung Eui-yong, and the country's top spy, Suh Hoon.
Their trip north is part of Moon's attempt to broker a diplomatic solution to North Korea's nuclear weapons program in the wake of the thaw brought about by North Korea's attendance at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics last month.
It's a dramatic departure from 2017, when a string of North Korean weapons tests and hostile rhetoric from US President Donald Trump and Kim heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
"Kim Jong Un as a leader has kept himself highly circumscribed. This is not someone who has met with many non-North Koreans in almost six years," said John Delury, a professor at Yonsei University's Graduate School of International Relations in Seoul.
"It's a major signal of his personal commitment to this process and it gives the South Koreans, for the first time, someone can get a read on Kim Jong Un himself."