Pence: US Ready for Talks with North Korea

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Kim Yo Jong said she hopes to see Moon in Pyongyang soon so that he and her brother could "exchange views over many issues", which she said would make "North-South relations develop like yesterday was a long time ago".

The result mattered less than the political symbolism, however, as around 200 of North Korea's famed "army of beauties" charmed a crowd of 3,600 besotted locals with nostalgic oldies - and even broke out a Mexican wave.

After arriving in Seoul on Friday, the North Koreans attended a chilly opening ceremony at Pyeongchang's Olympic Stadium, taking their place among world dignitaries, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who seemed to go out of their way to not acknowledge the North Koreans despite sitting just few feet (meters) away. The two Koreas had combined teams and played simply as "Korea", wearing uniforms emblazoned with blue-and-white flags showing an undivided peninsula.

This photo, taken February 10, 2018, shows President Moon Jae-in (C), Kim Yo-jong (L), the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Kim Yong-nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, before holding talks with the North's high-level delegation.

In the "ax murder incident" of 1976, North Korean soldiers attacked a work party trying to chop down a tree inside the Demilitarized Zone, leaving two US army officers dead.

The frame for the still-nascent diplomatic path forward is this: The United States and its allies will not stop imposing steep and escalating costs on the Kim Jong Un regime until it takes clear steps toward denuclearization. Roh continued the efforts, which saw North and South Korea pursue now-stalled economic cooperation projects and reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Pence spent the days leading up to the games warning that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games" with its "propaganda".

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Among the crowd was a large number of North Korea's all-female "Army of Beauties" cheer squad, known for their tightly choreographed moves and chants.

Kim Yong-nam responded to the prime minister's remarks by saying, "I am sure that the two Koreas' relations will improve going forward, and the date of reunification will be advanced", the premier's office said, citing the North Korean official.

Kim Yo Jong, who is thought to be about 30 years old, entered the meeting with the president carrying a blue folder with the North Korean crest embossed in gold on the front, which she carefully laid on the table in front of her. He was imprisoned as a young man for working to topple South Korea's military rulers and forced into the elite special forces as punishment. "I thought things would be odd and very different, but I found a lot of things being similar", Kim said while proposing a toast at Sunday's dinner, according to Moon's office.

The secretive nation sent a team of 31 commandos to Seoul in a botched attempt to assassinate then-President Park Chung-hee in 1968.

Jarrod Agen, the vice president's spokesman, on Saturday tweeted a recap of Pence's visit so far. About 800 conservative protesters gathered in central Seoul to tear up photos of Kim Jong Un and condemn Moon for being too soft on North Korea. In response, the Kim regime may resume testing its nuclear and missile programs, as it has done after past Olympic detentes.

The sanctions imposed against the Kim regime after last year's intercontinental ballistic missile launches and huge nuclear test are now beginning to take effect, experts say, postulating that Kim Jong Un is now looking for the "weakest link" in the chain to try to break the sanctions. Many South Koreans, meanwhile, who have been threatened with war for decades and saw 50 of their citizens killed in attacks blamed on North Korea in 2010, will be deeply wary of any deal that does not provide real security.

In that regard, Kim Jong Un has scored a victory this week.

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