February 22, 2018

Kim Jong-un asks South Korean chief to Pyongyang summit

12 February 2018, 04:22 | Taylor George

REUTERS OPENING CEREMONY Kim Yo-jong appeared to not interact with Pence during the ceremony

Kim Yo-jong and Pence

While President Moon and members of the North Korean delegation stood and applauded the temporarily unified team of South and North Korean athletes, Pence - who was sitting in the same VIP box in front of the North Korean delegation - remained seated and became an awkward photo bomber. The North Korean delegation that arrived in the South on leader Kim Jong Un's private jet also includes his sister Kim Yo Jong.

Later, he skipped a formal dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam.

A sudden diplomatic breakthrough between North Korea and the United States seems hardly more likely than when Kim started what some are derisively calling his "charm offensive", and it's important Kim not be allowed to weaken ties between South Korea and the United States.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned South Korean President Moon Jae-in not to fall for North Korea's "smile diplomacy" during the Olympics, saying the North remains committed to developing nuclear weapons and missiles even while pursuing talks with the South. He said he would keep the door open to the North's participation until the eleventh hour. The appearance of a sudden opening in relations between two Koreas poses a threat to the alliance between the U.S., South Korea and Japan in their effort to maintain "maximum pressure" on North Korea.

The charity's statement comes after the joint Korean women's ice hockey team and the pro-unification flag show.

The vice president's visit was also marked by bad blood between Pence and some USA athletes.

Pence is viewing the short-track competition, in which eight Americans are participating.

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North Korea sent 22 athletes to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games following its last-minute decision to take part in the quadrennial event.

Kim delivered his invitation through his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, who came to South Korea and attended the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics held in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang on Friday night.

Pence said Friday that the USA would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program. USA officials have not ruled out the possibility that the vice president might meet a North Korean official at the Olympics.

A spokesperson for President Moon said he hoped the two countries would work towards a summit and called on the USA and North Korea to resume dialogue.

The head of South Korea met the DPRK delegation in the presidential palace.

He also said that the two countries should continue close cooperation and consultation to help the North make the right decision.

He didn't say what those conditions were, but he urged North Korea to open a dialogue with the United States, suggesting no diplomatic progress could be made without USA participation.

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