United States suggests North Korean talks without preconditions

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In barely a month since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un surprised the world and said his nation was ready to join the Games, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has delayed military exercises, feted Kim's sister at the Pyeongchang Olympics and given conditional consent to a bilateral summit in the North.

"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step towards denuclearisation", he was quoted on Sunday as saying.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, back in Washington after attending the opening of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, said the United States, South Korea and Japan were in complete agreement on isolating North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

Washington insists that Pyongyang must take concrete steps towards denuclearisation before any talks can begin, while Moon - whose parents escaped from the North in a USA evacuation during the war - has long argued for closer involvement to bring it to the negotiating table.

Kim emphasized the importance of continuing dialogue between two Koreas, according to the North's official news agency. International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said as much to the team after their first game, saying "You're part of something bigger".

Kim Jong-un met the members of the high-level delegation who returned from their three-day visit to South Korea for the Winter Olympics games yesterday (Feb 12).

Pence did not meet with the North Korea delegation during his visit.

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Many Koreans were delighted to see North and South Korean athletes marching as part of one delegation at the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony last Friday. Their visit to the South was the first by such a senior delegation since the Korean War in the 1950s.

Ripley said she is "telegenic" and credited her effective diplomacy at hockey games and official dinners.

So Moon agreed with USA vice president Mike Pence on the "maximum sanctions and pressure" approach.

Mr Moon welcomed Mr Pence's remarks during a meeting with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis later Tuesday in Seoul, a presidential office spokesman said.

Kim's appearance at the Olympics "is a signal that North Korea is not this insane, weird former Cold War state - but it too has young women that are capable and are the future leadership, "North Korean expert Balbina Hwang told CNN".

Pence told Axios that regardless of the North-South talks, there was "no daylight" between the allies on the need to intensify pressure on Pyongyang. But the South Korean leader would not commit to the offer of a summit, instead saying that the "right conditions" had to first be in place.

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