Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Korean president hosts lunch for Kim Jong Un's sister

Korean president hosts lunch for Kim Jong Un's sister

But folks were stunned when they thought they also saw North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump.

Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to North Korea for talks following overtures made during the Olympics, Moon's office announced Saturday. Moon has looked to the games as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with the North - a move Pence cautioned against.

The opening gala was attended by North Korean President Moon Jae-in and about 200 leaders from several countries and global organizations.

Moon adds his hopes that it becomes "a venue that leads to dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

Military and civilian experts have, however, warned against such a gamble given that North Korea retains massive conventional firepower to level Seoul and kill millions, including around 28,000 U.S. servicemen, in retaliation.

"Our resolve to stand with you is unshakable", Pence said.

Japan and South Korea share a bitter history that includes Japan's 1910-45 colonization of the peninsula and the use of "comfort women", a euphemism for women - many Korean - forced to work in Japanese wartime brothels.

After two failed Olympic bids that emphasized the high-sounding notion that the games could help make peace with North Korea, Pyeongchang finally sold its successful try in 2011 on the decidedly capitalistic goal of boosting winter sports tourism in Asia.

David J. Phillip  Pool  Getty Images
David J. Phillip Pool Getty Images

It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.

Aides acknowledged that the hard-nosed message is an unusual one for the affable Pence, but said the circumstances warrant the tone. It has only deepened over the years as the North closes in on the ability to field an arsenal of nukes that can hit USA cities.

That said, these officials said that if the North Koreans had approached Pence with pleasantries, he would have responded in kind.

The invitation, delivered by Kim's visiting sister Kim Yo Jong, said Kim was willing to meet the South's leader "at the earliest date possible", said a spokesman for the presidential Blue House.

North Korea's decision to participate has eased tensions after months of saber rattling and missile and nuclear tests that have raised fears it's closer-than-expected to achieving its goal of developing a nuclear weapon that could reach the US mainland.

She is the first immediate family member of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung to ever set foot in the South. That agreement, made under former President Park Geun-hye, was meant to "settle" the issue "finally and irreversibly" in exchange for around 9 million US dollars.

She shook hands with Moon and smiled faintly as the South Korean leader entered a meeting room at the Blue House on Saturday.

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