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

Moon meets Kim's sister inside Blue House

Moon meets Kim's sister inside Blue House

Pence's press secretary had also jabbed at Kim Yo Jong this week after images of the North Korean figure standing near Pence for the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, drew attention online.

In a surreal mixture of dignitaries, the Olympic Stadium's VIP box included Kim Yo Jong and North Korea's nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, sitting above and behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and fellow hard-liner Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister.

A North Korean delegation, the highest-ranking to visit the South and led by the younger sister of the North's leader Kim Jong Un, concluded its visit on Sunday after charming and intriguing the South Korean public, but still faces deep scepticism over Pyongyang's sincerity towards improving relations.

According to journalists in Pyeongchang for the ceremony, it's unclear what the two impersonators were doing, but they apparently made a scene.

The invitation was delivered on Saturday at a landmark meeting between Moon and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo-jong in the Presidential Palace in Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported.

He added: "As President Trump has said, the cruel dictatorship of North Korea is little more than a prison state". North Korea's involvement in the Olympics has been sparse, with their last Winter Olympics coming in 2010 in Vancouver.

Korea's eagerly-anticipated joint ice hockey debut ended in defeat as the unified women's team were thrashed by Switzerland in an historic encounter in front of a crowd featuring top-level officials from both countries here today.

South Korea's principal opposition party, the Liberty Korea Party, was not impressed.

Pence knew of the invitation but did not discuss it with Moon while they watched a speed-skating event together, a senior White House official said.

Moon did not immediately accept the offer, calling instead for efforts to "create the right conditions to realize" such a visit and urging Pyongyang to actively seek dialogue with the U.S., he added.

She's been known to act as an advance-team leader, inspecting sites before official visits and taking on administrative duties, analysts said.

North Korea's state media also sharply criticized Pence.

"What can not be overlooked is that Moon did not directly demand North Korea to abandon its nuclear development, Moon should be aware that he has to urge denuclearisation to North Korea by himself, not depending on dialogue between the USA and North Korea", an editorial in the Yomiuri Newspaper read.

The initial move the United States wants is for North Korea to put denuclearization on the table and take steps toward it, though that is not a condition for preliminary talks.

North Korean Jong Su Hyon had one of Korea's three shots in the first. North Korea initially had no athletes entered after its Olympic committee missed a confirmation deadline for a pair of skaters who had qualified to compete in the games.

Pence's tweeted day-after position: "The U.S. will not allow the propaganda charade by the North Korean regime to go unchallenged on the world stage". Mr. Moon asked the delegation, before reporters were ushered from the room.

The atmosphere could deteriorate on the Korean Peninsula after South Korea and the USA resume joint military exercise, which the allies have suspend until after the Olympics.

"The vice present cheered for the team he's rooting for".

Even if there are more meetings between the rivals after the Games, accomplishing something is another matter.

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