VP Pence Skips Olympics Dinner With SKorea President

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The colorful opening ceremony kicked off what will be the biggest Winter Olympic Games in history with more than 2,900 athletes from 92 countries competing - including one shirtless Tongan cross-country skier, a women's bobsled team from Jamaica and 242 American athletes, the largest delegation in history for the U.S.at a Winter Olympics. "But the Olympic moment that President Moon is trying to generate here is not a time to nurse those grievances", Jannuzi said.

However, just a block from the Olympic a few dozen protestors raged against the presence of North Korean athletes and officials at the Games, tearing up a North Korean flag as emotions ran high.

Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, verbally delivered the invite to Moon on Saturday.

News reports said 4,000 of the phones were being given to athletes attending the Pyeongchang games, but that athletes from Iran and North Korea would be excluded because of United Nations sanctions against the two countries over their nuclear programmes. They stressed the North Koreans in the VIP box had watched Pence, Moon and Abe hold a running discussion in the front row for the more than two-hour ceremonies.

The vice president was supposed to sit across from the North Korean head of state at the dinner, but reportedly showed up late and was not able to be seated.

"The North Koreans should understand that for a summit or any kind of serious talks to occur, Moon needs to be able to take something to Washington - something that addresses denuclearisation", he said. Throw in there the accusations that South Korea has had to arrange huge payouts for past meetings, and that these earlier encounters, while certainly producing indelible images, have done little to slow North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics is underway - at 8 p.m.in South Korea and at 6 a.m. ET in the US - with 2,900 athletes from 92 countries gathering to compete for 102 medals in Pyeongchang.

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The discussions from Saturday's meeting weren't immediately released.

Skeptics say North Korea, which is unlikely to give up its nukes under any deal, is just using the Olympics to poke holes at the USA -led worldwide sanctions against the country and buy more time to further advance its strategic weaponry.

In bidding for 2018, the idea was less to advance peace on the Korean peninsula - the irony is notable - than to promote winter sports through the tagline "New Horizons" and to showcase advances in South Korea since Seoul in 1988.

Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea. Pence carried a similar message.

North Korea's overtures to the South have included sending as part of its delegation Kim Yo Jong, the current leader's younger sister, who is thought to be one of his closest aides.

"It seems clear", he said, "that the countries have entered a phase of restoring a regular level of contact".