UPDATE : 2018.5.22 TUE 08:00
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U.N. chief meets N.K. official, calls for denuclearization

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with North Korea's ceremonial head of state in South Korea and delivered his hope for a peaceful denuclearization of the isolated state, a spokesman said Friday.

Guterres met with Kim Yong-nam at a dinner marking the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics Friday. Kim was leading a high-level delegation that also included the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) clinks glasses with North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam (C), and South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a reception at the opening of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

Guterres "reiterated his expectation and hope that all parties will use dialogue to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at U.N. headquarters, according to AP.

The secretary-general was also in "the same general area" as the sister, Kim Yo-jong, but "they were never in any personal contact with each other."

The North Koreans' visit has raised expectations for high-level contact between Washington and Pyongyang following months of tensions over the regime's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests.

Vice President Mike Pence has been leading the U.S. delegation to the Games.

Guterres also met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and expressed hope the Olympics will open a "window of opportunity" for stronger diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the North, according to the presidential office. (Yonhap)

Lee Sam-sun  edt@koreapost.com

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