North Korean media print pictures of South Korea's Moon

North Korean media print pictures of South Korea's Moon

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (left) greets North Korean delegates including Kim Yo Jong (right), North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, and North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Feb 10, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Yonhap)

SEOUL: South Korean President Moon Jae-in made a rare appearance in the North's official media Saturday (Feb 10), with four pictures of him in the Rodong Sinmun, the official mouthpiece of the Workers Party.

As ever, its front page lead story was on the activities of leader Kim Jong Un - in this instance, being given a gift by Zimbabwe's visiting air force commander.

But it carried seven front page pictures on the departure from Pyongyang and arrival in Seoul of its diplomatic delegation to the Winter Olympics, led by ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and including the leader's sister Kim Yo Jong.

Inside, it had seven more pictures of their meetings with Moon and the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang  four of them featuring the South Korean leader, who was described as president.

It is extremely unusual for the paper to show a picture of a Southern leader, and rare for them to be referred to as president, usually being described as chief executive or some other title.

The Winter Olympics have driven a rapid rapprochement on the Korean peninsula, where fears of a new conflict mounted last year as the nuclear-armed North carried out a series of missile tests and its most powerful atomic blast to date.

Critics - among them US Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - warn of a charm offensive by Pyongyang, which mounted a military parade on Thursday in a show of strength.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency also referred to Moon as president.

Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong were the first individuals mentioned in its report on the opening ceremony, saying that they took their places on the platform at the event.

"Present there were members of a high-level delegation of the DPRK and its National Olympic Committee delegation, art troupe and cheering group," it went on.

Moon did not appear until the fifth paragraph: "Attending it were President Moon Jae In and personages of political and social circles of south Korea."

But it made no mention of US President Mike Pence, who was seated in the same box as Moon and the two North Koreans.

"Spectators broke into cheers and applause" when the North and South Korean athletes entered the arena together behind a unification flag, it added.

Source: AFP/zl