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

Moon holds meeting with North's state head, Kim's sister

Moon holds meeting with North's state head, Kim's sister

North Korea's military generals, high-ranking officials and even members of the ruling Kim family are subject to periodic purges under the rule of leader Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean artists performed Thursday in Gangneung, a coastal city that will host the skating, hockey and curling events during the games, and are to perform again in Seoul.

As for sharing Moon's box with the North Koreans, the officials said they knew in advance who was going to be in Moon's box to watch the opening ceremony.

Saturday's meeting follows a brief encounter between the two parties at the opening ceremony on Friday, in which Moon twice shook hands with Kim Yo-jong.

In stark contrast, two kinds of kimchi - the fermented cabbage that features in every Korean meal - were on the menu for lunch, a Blue House official told AFP, one mild Northern style version and a spicier Southern recipe.

During their summit in South Korea on Friday, Abe told Moon that the military drills between Seoul and Washington should be carried out to change North Korea's behavior, the office said.

Pence is leading the US delegation to the Pyeongchang Games' opening ceremonies and will also participate in symbolic events meant to shine a spotlight on North Korea's nuclear program and human rights abuses. Jo Yong Sam, department director general of North Korea's foreign ministry, said Thursday the country had never "begged the United States for dialogue" and wasn't about to start now.

Asked about criticism that Pence stood and cheered only for Team USA and stayed seated when the North and South Koreans marched in under a unified flag, the official was unapologetic.

This is the first time a member of the Kim dynasty has travelled to South Korea, though their grandfather, Kim Il Sung, went to areas occupied by his troops south of what is now the Demilitarized Zone during the 1950-53 Korean War. US Vice President Mike Pence, sitting a few seats away in the same Opening Ceremony VIP booth, looked stony faced as the scene unfolded.

The divided Koreas have held two inter-Korean summits, both in Pyongyang, with the second summit held between the late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and the late Kim Jong-il in 2007.

The sister of the North Korean leader has arrived in South Korea, dressed in a black coat and absorbing a barrage of camera flashes.

The luncheon also includes Choe Hwi, chairman of the North's National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs. Kim Hye-sook, a defector who fled North Korea in 2009, reminded press covering the Olympics to remember "the millions of people who are struggling to survive in North Korea".

The North Korea officials were received by Moon's chief of staff.

Analysts say the North's decision Kim Yo Jong to the Olympics shows an ambition to break out from diplomatic isolation and pressure by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.

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