A high-ranking delegation led by Kim Yong Chol (C), vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, crossed the inter-Korean border via land route and arrived in South Korea on Feb. 25, 2018. (Xinhua/NEWSIS)
SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- A high-ranking delegation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) arrived in South Korea Sunday to attend the closing ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics.
The DPRK delegation, led by Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, crossed the inter-Korean border via land route and arrived in the transit office in the west region at about 9:53 a.m. local time (0053 GMT), local TV footage showed.
Kim, dressed in a long, black coat, was greeted by Chun Hae-sung, vice unification minister of South Korea, at the inter-Korean transit office.
Also included in the DPRK delegation were Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, who came here about two weeks earlier to attend the Olympic opening ceremony, and six other support staff.
Kim and Ri rode two black sedans respectively, prepared by the South Korean authorities, to a hotel in Seoul. The sedans arrived in the hotel at around noon, together with a black van carrying the support staff.
South Korea said earlier this week that Vice Chairman Kim's attendance at the Olympic closing ceremony, scheduled for Sunday night, will help improve inter-Korean relations and peace on the Korean Peninsula as he doubles as the director of the United Front Department in charge of inter-Korean ties.
Kim was a chief DPRK negotiator at the inter-Korean contact of the military authorities, which was held on Oct. 15, 2014 at the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss ways to defuse military tension between the two sides.
There would be a natural encounter between Kim and Ivanka Trump, the daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump who came Friday to South Korea to cheer on U.S. athletes and attend the closing ceremony.
Kim and Ivanka were expected to take their respective seats in the same VIP box for South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the closing ceremony.
During a dinner meeting with Ivanka at the presidential compound in Seoul Friday, Moon said talks between South Korea and the DPRK must go hand in hand with talks to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
Moon told Ivanka that it would be significant for South Korea and the United States to closely cooperate to enable the inter-Korean talks and the denuclearization talks to make progress together, saying Seoul and Washington must take the opportunity of the current dialogue mood.
During a telephone conversation in January, Moon and Trump shared a possibility for the inter-Korean talks naturally leading to talks between the United States and the DPRK.