'The bottles kept coming': The story behind Kim Jong-un's pivot to diplomacy

North Korea's Kim Jong-un joked about his image in international media while serving South Korean officials local spirits and cold noodles during their unprecedented visit to Pyongyang this week, South Korean sources say.

During the meeting, Mr Kim committed to giving up his nuclear weapons and told the South Korea officials he would like to meet US President Donald Trump, delegation leader Chung Eui-yong told reporters at the White House on Thursday.

Mr Kim made light-hearted remarks about how he is viewed outside North Korea in international media and elsewhere, one Blue House official said.

The North Korean leader, repeatedly derided as "Little Rocket Man" by Mr Trump, was "very aware" of his image, the official said, and reacted to comments made about him in a "relaxed" manner by joking about himself from time to time.

South Korean officials say Mr Trump and Mr Kim plan to meet by the end of May, in what would be the first meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.

Tensions rose to their highest in years in 2017 following a battery of missile tests by North Korea, before a detente championed by South Korean President Moon Jae-In during his country's hosting of the Winter Olympics began to bear fruit.

Mr Kim told the visiting delegation Mr Moon could rest easy at night now Pyongyang had decided not to carry out nuclear or missile tests while talks were ongoing, a Blue House official said.

"If working-level talks ever cease and hostility appears, [Mr Moon] and I can easily resolve it with a phone call," Mr Kim referring to the hotline the Koreas plan to install to connect Mr Kim and Mr Moon.

When the South Korean officials visited, no hard feelings were displayed and Mr Kim was the first to tackle sensitive topics, including the resumption of a military exercise between South Korea and the United States that was postponed for a peaceful Winter Olympics, the Blue House official said.

The delegation was served North Korean hotpot the first day and cold noodles - another regional specialty - the next, the Blue House official said.

Mr Kim and the officials shared several bottles of wine, liquor made of ginseng and Pyongyang soju, the official said.

"The bottles kept coming," said another administrative source who had official knowledge of the meeting.

Reuters