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

Kim Yo-jong meets South Korean president in Seoul as thaw continues

Kim Yo-jong meets South Korean president in Seoul as thaw continues

A White House official said although Moon did not discuss the invitation to Pyongyang with Mr Pence, the South Korean president made it very clear that only when North Korea actually starts to take steps to denuclearise would anyone even consider beginning to take the pressure off.

He said the North was using the Games for crude propaganda.

The two Koreas have a rocky and sometimes violent history at the Blue House. He refused to acknowledge Kim Yong-nam during a brief stop at a dinner Friday night and remained seated when athletes from North and South Korea marched in the opening ceremony.

The warm North-South body language not only fanned talk of a split between Seoul and Washington, it contrasted with a cold encounter between South Korea and Japan, an ally in US -led efforts to pressure North Korea to end its nuclear programme.

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

"This development could have been anticipated, but for Japan it's a nightmare scenario", said Takashi Kawakami, a professor of global politics at Takushoku University in Tokyo. The U.S. and the North should quickly resume dialogue, he said.

"That's a very odd time if in fact he is trying to show a warming to a country that he has attacked repeatedly as an American puppet", said the United States defence chief, who is to head next to Brussels and Munich.

The hermit kingdom has been slapped with round after round of sanctions, aimed at strangling its resources and forcing the regime to reign in its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. If peace isn't imminent, a summit in Pyongyang between Moon and Kim Jong Un seems preferable to recent months' threats.

An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South's Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang. Mr. Moon has said in the past that he only wanted to meet the North Korean leader if they can make progress on nuclear issues.

Fuel prices have risen and more wood-fired Soviet-era trucks have been seen on the outskirts of the capital, said the resident, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea. The North then withdrew its request after it asked for more fuel than Seoul was willing to provide, a Seoul official added.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the Second Plenum of the 7th Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang October 8, 2017. Analysts say that the missiles, which were successfully flight tested three times previous year, could potentially reach deep into the USA mainland when perfected.

The 19 other North Korean athletes participating in the games are three cross-country skiers; two short-track speed skaters; a pair of figure skaters; and 12 female hockey players who helped form the Koreas' first-ever joint Olympic team with South Korean players.

He brought the first medal to the team of Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation.

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