Come visit: South Korea's leader invited to North

Violet Powell
February 12, 2018

The officials said it was fair to say both Pence and the North Koreans rebuffed South Korean President Moon Jae-in's efforts to facilitate a meeting between North Korea and the US.

At a Games rife with political overtones, US Vice-President Mike Pence was watching nearby as the first North Korean athlete competed - and flopped - on Saturday.

Saturday's meeting, the most significant diplomatic encounter between the two sides in more than a decade, could now be surpassed should Moon accept Kim's invitation to visit Pyongyang later this year. Pence did not interact with the North Koreans even though he was seated in the same box as them at Friday's opening ceremony.

Civilian contact is strictly banned between the two Koreas, which have technically remained at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

Kim Yong-nam and Kim Yo-jong were the first individuals mentioned in its report on the opening ceremony, saying that they took their places on the platform at the event.

"What can not be overlooked is that Moon did not directly demand North Korea to abandon its nuclear development ..."

Moon hoped to use the Olympics to ease tensions and North Korea agreed to send high-profile officials as well as athletes.

The North Korean delegation also included the country's 90-year-old nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, who was expected to attend a VIP reception before opening ceremony.

The North Koreans might want South Korea and the United States to make concessions if they accede to this basic framework, such as delaying the U.S.

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Kim Jong Un has invited Moon to visit Pyongyang, the presidential Blue House said.

A North Korean art troupe put on a concert in Seoul on Sunday to celebrate the ongoing Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, with President Moon Jae In and the North's high-ranking delegation, including its leader Kim Jong Un's sister, in attendance.

To pave the way for the North's participation at Pyeongchang, South Korea had delayed the annual exercises with US forces, which usually take place between February and March, until after the Olympics.

Before leaving Japan for Korea, Pence announced that the US would unveil in coming days "the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever". The women suddenly stood up and erupted in synchronized chants, enthusiastically waving flags depicting the unified Korean peninsula in a light blue color.

Although inter-Korean talks are occurring on the sidelines of the Olympics, Pence is confident that Seoul and Tokyo "are solidly with our alliance and the need to continue and intensify economic sanctions", the official said.

In a January interview with Reuters, U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korea is close to having the capability to deliver a nuclear-tipped missile to the United States, and vowed to prevent that.

The rapprochement pushed by the South Korean President has angered some who accuse him of being a North Korea sympathiser.

North Korean cheerleaders let rip in support for Choe Un Song but he was eliminated in the heats for the 1,500m short-track speed skating, failing to reach the semi-finals.

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