Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Two Koreas, Kim's sister star at freezing Olympic opener

Two Koreas, Kim's sister star at freezing Olympic opener

The delegation, which includes Kim's sister, Kim Yo-jong, is in South Korea for the Winter Olympics.

In January 1968, Kim Yo Jong's grandfather, founding North Korean president Kim Il Sung, sent a squad of North Korean commandos to Seoul who tried unsuccessfully to kill then-president Park Chung-hee.

But the agreement made little headway after the North carried out a series of nuclear and missile tests, and after conservative presidents took office in the South, adopting a harder line on Pyongyang.

Moon quickly reacted to Kim's remarks, saying it was "a response to our proposal to turn the Pyeongchang Olympic Games into an epoch-making opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations and establish peace".

South Koreans angry at North Korea's perceived "hijacking" of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics have sarcastically dubbed it the "Pyongyang Games", but it seems many really are struggling to differentiate between the two places.

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: The Olympic cauldron is lit during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

North Korea conducted its largest nuclear test past year and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States.

They were seated not far from a section of North Korean cheerleaders who are attending the Olympics in a sign of warming ties between the two Koreas that Pence and other US officials have warned against.

Earlier on Saturday, Kim invited Moon for talks in Pyongyang, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

"We hope to see you in Pyongyang at an early date", Kim Yo Jong told Moon after delivering a personal letter from her brother, according to officials. She also repeated the invitation directly to Moon to visit at a time convenient to him, he said.

Following his stint with the American delegation at speedskating, Moon attended a hockey game with Kim Yong Nam - the nominal North Korean head of state - on Saturday night. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white "kimchi" or fermented cabbage.

It's unclear whether the occasion could be used to set up bigger meetings between the Koreas to ease tensions.

His father and President Trump have both stated unequivocally that he was the victim of torture by Kim Jong Un's regime. The other objective for Pence's appearance was to see Moon for a final time, forging one more photo op of the two, in light of the events of the day.

"Ultimately, North Korea's objective is to normalize its status as a nuclear power so that it can push for sanctions relief without giving up its weapons", said Troy Stangarone, a senior director at the Korea Economic Institute in Washington.

Moon apparently cited the conditions necessary for an inter-Korean summit.

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