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Two Koreas hold top-level talks in Olympic rapprochement

10 February 2018, 09:54 | Joan Schultz

Two Koreas hold top-level talks in Olympic rapprochement

Two Koreas hold top-level talks in Olympic rapprochement

The ceremony was also attended by North Korean ceremonial leader Kim Yong Nam and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, as well as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Numerous protestors carried American flags, and one carried a banner making a direct plea to President Donald Trump.

Diplomatic sources with deep knowledge of North Korea's activities told CNN that despite outwardly positive signs and indications of a "charm offensive" from Pyongyang, what's "unclear and bizarre" is there has not been any concurrent diplomatic movement from North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The athletes elicited a standing ovation by most leaders in the VIP box, including Moon and Kim's sister.

It did not mention Kim Yo Jong, the young but influential sister of the North's leader Kim Jong Un, who is also part of Pyongyang's delegation and has been the focus of widespread attention.

"The fact that we are here together will mark the precious start of our first step toward global peace", Moon said.

Pence, who is leading the U.S. delegation to the Olympics, has accused Pyongyang of using the event for its own ends. In it, Kim Jong Un highlighted several huge intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were successfully flight tested three times a year ago and could reach deep into the USA mainland when perfected. "Because in my opinion, they're pretty much the same person", the Kim impersonator said.

Mr Moon said the Koreas should "make it happen" and encouraged the north to return to negotiations with the US.

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Kim Jong Il traveled to Beijing to meet then Chinese president Jiang Zemin before the summit.

Despite only being half-brother to the North Korean leader, the two are understood to a have a very close connection.

"Kim's proposal for a summit with Moon is based on the premise that the North will stick to its nuclear weapons while seeking rapprochement with the South", he told AFP.

The Winter Games, staged only 80km (50 miles) from the North Korean border, saw the two Koreas, who are technically still at war since a 1953 armistice, march together at the opening ceremony for the first time since 2006.

Smiling, he shook hands with each of the delegates ahead of their talks, and television footage showed that Kim Yo Jong - who analysts expected to bring a personal message from her brother - was carrying a blue folder emblazoned with a seal.

Later on Saturday, Moon and Kim Yong-nam will attend the first ice hockey match played by teams from both the sides, according to reports.

The North has sent almost 500 people to the Pyeongchang Games, including officials, athletes, artists and also a 230-member state-trained cheering group after the Koreas agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures for the games. The North's political delegation was set to leave Sunday.



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