Kim Jong Un said Monday the two Koreas should build on the “warm climate of reconciliation” fostered during the Winter Olympics once the Games are over, according to state-run media.
The North Korean leader made the remarks to a high-ranking delegation which had returned from Pyeongchang, the Korean Central News Agency reported.
"It is important to continue making good results by further livening up the warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue created by the strong desire and common will of the North and the South with the Winter Olympics as a momentum," Kim said.
He also thanked Seoul for “specially prioritizing” the North's attendance, according to the report.
The Games prompted a rare display of unity between North and South Korea, a stark contrast to the months before the event, in which Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests sparked fears of a potential war.
The charm offensive was spearheaded by Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, whose attendance at the Games marked the first time a member of North Korea’s ruling dynasty had travelled south of the border.
During the trip, she met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in — with the pair cheering on a joint Korean ice hockey team together — and in turn invited the South Korean leader to visit Pyongyang. If the meeting proceeds, it will be the first between Korean leaders in more than a decade.
The goodwill could evaporate swiftly though, with the U.S. and South Korea due to hold joint military exercises that regularly anger Pyongyang.
The U.S., wary of Pyongyang using the Games for propaganda, remains unswayed by the North’s talk of rapprochement.
Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the Olympics to counter Pyongyang’s messaging, has said that while the U.S. is prepared to talk to the North, it would increase pressure until the regime forgoes its nuclear and weapons programs.
"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization," he told the Washington Post.
President Donald Trump raised the issue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on a phone call Monday, telling him that more needed to be done to counter Pyongyang’s nuclear efforts.
Cover image: This undated picture released from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 14, 2017 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) inspecting the 'Dropping and Target-striking Contest of KPA Special Operation Forces - 2017' at an undisclosed location in North Korea. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)