Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Heading home, Pence insists 'no daylight' on North Korea

Heading home, Pence insists 'no daylight' on North Korea

Since the Korean War ended in a truce in 1953, the two sides have grown culturally and linguistically apart, deepening the political gulf that had initially separated the poor, one-party state in the north from the rich, democratic south.

The unified Korean team snapped a selfie at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Undoubtedly North Korea's vision of a reintegrated peninsula is one under the socialist regime of Kim Jong-Un, while South Korea sees itself as the obvious dominant partner in any potential rejoining.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang "at an early date", the presidential Blue House in Seoul said on Saturday, potentially setting up the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

Camera flashes; mobs of reporters: Through it all, Kim has maintained a placid smile - and despite Pence's stated intention to reinforce North Korea's isolation during his Olympic visit, the sister of the repressive regime's leader seems to have spent at least as much time with Moon as Pence did.

South Korea accommodated both the North Korean government officials and members of the art troupe at the Wakerhill hotel in Seoul. Kim was seen wearing a rosary ring, which her fans had previously mistaken for an engagement ring, during her silver-medal performance at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Vice President Pence is using his appearance at the Winter Olympics to call on the global community to take a tougher stance on North Korea's nuclear program and human rights abuses.

Then for dinner, her South Korean hosts took her to a fancy restaurant in Gangneung, on the east coast, before the hockey game.

"The fate of our nation must be determined by our own selves - we must not allow the repeat of unfortunate past history where our fate was determined with no regard to our opinions", Moon said in a speech to South Korean lawmakers in November.

The evening concluded as every Olympic ceremony does, with the lighting of the flame and a spectacular firework display - 20,000 fireworks were used during the ceremony. As a sign of her status, the elder Kim Yong Nam offered her the seat of honor at the airport meeting, but she politely declined.

The Opening Ceremonies had a lot of other memorable moments, too.

A Blue House official said Moon "practically accepted" the invitation. The past year has been particularly acrimonious as the North has accelerated its nuclear weapons development and test launches of missiles that are now believed to be able to reach most or all of the United States, South Korea's most important ally.

Neither Pence nor Abe took part in a group photo of the leaders at the reception, in which Kim stood behind Moon. "If you want to get a hold of Kim Jong-un and you're a North Korean, maybe you should befriend Kim Yo Jong", Madden said.

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of her family to set foot in this country since the north and south were divided and her grandfather, Kim Il Sung, founded North Korea. But though it was the North Koreans who shouted the loudest in support of this new team, there have been benefits to both countries.

Vice President Mike Pence.

Lisa Jansen was born in South Korea and lived in an orphanage here until she was adopted by an American family.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, making an unprecedented visit to South Korean soil, will now likely attend the same opening ceremony as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who's vowing toughest-ever sanctions on the North.

Included in the DPRK delegation are Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

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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