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Winter Olympics: North Korean cheerleaders mesmerise crowds

12 February 2018, 06:00 | Joan Schultz

Winter Olympics: North Korean cheerleaders mesmerise crowds

Winter Olympics: North Korean cheerleaders mesmerise crowds

South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited President Moon Jae-in for a summit meeting in the North.

The 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang kicked off on Friday with the two Koreans marching under a unified flag in an opening ceremony themed around peace and future.

South Korean daily Joongang Ilbo reported on Thursday, citing a source close to Cheong Wa Dae, that the presidential office is considering sending a special envoy to the North if the high-level North Korean delegation delivers a personal message through Kim Jong-un.

Kim Yo-jong is the North Korean leader's younger sister.

The two leaders however, did not discuss North Korea's invitation to Moon to visit Pyongyang, according to a senior administration official.

And as the South appeared to look favorably on warming ties on the Korean Peninsula, Pence insisted Saturday "there is no daylight" among the United States and allies South Korea and Japan in intensifying pressure on the North over its nuclear and missile programs.

It's by far the most sustained public presence for Kim, who had been something of a mystery to many South Koreans, despite her known role in North Korea's politburo. Speaking to the United States and Japanese troops at the Yokota Air Base outside Tokyo, Pence vowed to continue "maximum pressure campaign" on North Korea in a bid to forcing Pyongyang to give up its nuclear missile programme.

Winter Olympics: North Korean cheerleaders mesmerise crowds

As they shook hands, the North and South Koreans spoke briefly.

However, South Korea's main opposition party warned any talks between the two Koreas where the scrapping of North Korea's nuclear programme was not a precondition would only "benefit the enemy". The Pences, seated next to Moon and just a row ahead of Kim and the North's 90-year-old nominal head of state, remained in their seats, unsmiling.

Pence avoided an encounter Friday with Kim Yong Nam, leaving the hotel after a five-minute stay.

Abe said it would be important to conduct the US-South Korea joint war games, codenamed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, as scheduled, Xinhua news agency cited the Blue House official as saying. They said Pence could have opted to sit with the U.S. delegation and avoided the box that included the North Koreans.

US officials have been urging South Korea to be cautious in its rapprochement with the North. The vice president has taken a hard stance against the country in the days leading up to the games, spotlighting the oppression of its people and promising a new round of USA sanctions.

Pence also noted he wasn't concerned with keeping the focus on North Korea amid the "charm offensive" on display at the Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died aged 22 after being detained in North Korea for a petty offence a year ago, was not in the box with Pence but rather sitting with the U.S. athletes, according to The Washington Post Tokyo bureau chief Anna Fifield.

Priest and worshippers hurt in sword attack in Indonesian church
The city, located about 500km south-east of Jakarta, is regarded as the cultural heart of Java, Indonesia's main island. Similar incidents have occurred in Indonesia in recent years.

Kim Jong-un asks South Korean chief to Pyongyang summit
He also said that the two countries should continue close cooperation and consultation to help the North make the right decision. 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.

North Korea's Kim invites South Korean president for summit
The earlier performance was the first by North Koreans in the South since August 2002. It was built in the 1960s as a luxury facility for US troops stationed in the South.



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