North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared to be at ease and even in a joking mood at a dinner with top South Korean officials, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
A photograph released by South Korea’s government shows the North Korean leader in apparently good spirits at a banquet Monday night. Kim was seated next to Suh Hoon, the head of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service.
During the dinner, described as boozy by the Journal, Kim appeared to get along well with South Korean diplomats and even made jokes about himself and recent negotiations between the North and South, according to the report.
“If one of our officials is being rude at working-level talks, the president and I can talk over the hotline and settle things,” Kim said to laughs, referring to a new hotline set up between the president of South Korea and his office.
Other North Korean officials at the dinner included Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, and his sister, Kim Yo Jong, who led North Korea’s official delegation to South Korea for last month’s Winter Olympic Games. The atmosphere created by the Games is credited with bringing the two nations, which are still technically at war, together for talks.
Monday’s dinner was the first such meeting known to have taken place been Kim and any South Korean official, and came just days before President Trump ‘s announcement that he would meet with the North Korean leader about denuclearization.
Trump tweeted Thursday night that he had agreed to a meeting with Kim and that the North had pledged to halt its ongoing missile tests in the weeks leading up to the expected meeting.
“Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!” Trump tweeted.