Pyongyang gifts dogs to South Korea's Moon Jae-in

SEOUL - South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a pair of North Korean indigenous hunting dogs from Pyongyang, his office said on Sunday (Sept 30), the latest token of the rapidly blossoming friendship on the peninsula.

"Cheong Wa Dae (the presidential office) was offered a pair of Pungsan dogs from the North as a gift at the North-South summit and received them (last) Thursday," the South's presidential office said in a statement.

The canines, a male and a female, both aged around one, were handed over via the truce village of Panmunjom with 3kg of dog food to "help with their adaptation", it added.

Known for its loyalty and cleverness, the Pungsan breed - a hunting dog with thick, creamy white coat, pointy ears and hazel eyes - is one of the national treasures of North Korea.

The canine gifts come after a September meeting between Mr Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, at which Mr Kim agreed to plans to shutter a missile-testing site and visit Seoul. North and South Korea also announced that they would jointly bid for the 2032 Olympics.

Former South Korean president Kim Dae-jung had also received a pair of Pungsan pups after his landmark summit in Pyongyang with then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000.

The dogs were kept at the Seoul Grand Park and both died of natural causes in 2013 after giving birth to 21 puppies.

The new pooches will reside at the presidential office with Mr Moon - an animal lover who already owns a Pungsan dog named Maru, a former shelter cat called Jjing-Jjing, and Tory, a black mutt he adopted after taking office.