Korea delegation led by Kim's sister arrives for Olympics

Adjust Comment Print

North Korea is subject to heavy United Nations and USA sanctions created to pressure the reclusive, one-party state to abandon its development of nuclear and ballistic missiles.

North and South Korean athletes marched in the Winter Olympics opening ceremony under a unified flag as Kim Yo Hong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, was the first member of the dynasty to set foot in South Korea since the Korean War ended in 1953.

According to CNN, though Moon and Pence did not discuss the invitation during an afternoon meeting, a USA official "added that Pence does not believe that the invitation dilutes the toughness of the United States pressure campaign on North Korea".

A senior administration official aboard Pence's airplane also told reporters that South Korea and Japan "are solidly with our alliance and the need to continue and intensify economic sanctions". The senior U.S. official said Pence was not trying to avoid the North Korean officials but rather ignore them.

Pence and the North Koreans have been an awkward presence at the Games to say the least.

It said the two sides held "a comprehensive discussion. on the inter-Korean relations and various issues on the Korean peninsula in an amicable atmosphere", but did not say whether the North's weapons program was mentioned. Both countries - and the United States - spent much of 2017 locked in a war of words because of North Korea's improving nuclear program and its provocative missile tests.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks in Pyongyang, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to South Korea for playing host a day before the Games began, but had been silent on the topic since. "If North and South Korea will send unified teams on sports and all other sectors, we'll have good results", North Korean player Jong Su Hyon said after the game.

North Korea did prove it was capable of a charm offensive, a stark contrast from the past year when Kim Jong Un and President Trump have traded insults and dire threats.

North Korea held 'warm' but 'candid' talks with South Korea
But North Korea's record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind. The North is under a set of multilayered worldwide sanctions due to its provocations, with U.S.

The last summit between leaders of the two Koreas occurred in 2007 when South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and Kim Jong-il met in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

South Korea suggested the formation of a joint team as part of its efforts to use the Games to re-engage with the North and pave the way for talks over the North's weapons program.

"The US and South Korea has maintained a consistent stance that dialogue between South and North Korea and the talks between the US and North Korea should follow one after another to induce the denuclearization of North Korea and that continued sanctions and pressure is important", the ministry said in a statement. She also repeated the invitation directly to Moon to visit at a time convenient to him, he said.

The United State Vice President Mike Pence, (right) and his wife, Karen Pence, applaud during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday.

While Moon did not hesitate to shake hands and smile with his North Korean visitors, Pence didn't appear to even look in the direction of the North Korean delegation during the Friday event.

"All the parties concerned have welcomed this invitation to North Korea.", he said.

As the women's 500-meter qualifying heats began, USA vice president Mike Pence was settled in at the Gangneung Ice Arena with his wife and president Moo Jae-in.

Mr. Han, however, is not convinced it means anything, saying what North Korea wants most is to reduce pain from global sanctions.