Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president to visit him in Pyongyang


The delegation, the highest-ranking to visit the South, concludes its visit later on Sunday having charmed and intrigued the South Korean public, but still faces deep scepticism over the North's sincerity towards improving relations.

Still, it wouldn't be South Korea if people weren't asking the perennial question when it comes to North Korea changing gears and showering its rival with apparent affection: What's in it for Pyongyang? The VP made his intentions abundantly obvious upon landing at Osan Air Force Base: 'We'll continue to seize every opportunity to ensure that North Korea does not use the powerful imagery and backdrop of the Olympics to paper over an appalling record of human rights and a pattern of developing weapons and conducting the kind of missile launches that are threatening our nation and threatening neighbours across the region'.

Even so, there's also cautious optimism, or curiosity at least.

Moon warmly greeted Kim Yo Jong at Friday's ceremony.

In response, Moon suggested the two Koreas "make it happen" by creating conditions necessary for him to accept the invitation, the spokesman told a news briefing. The U.S. and the North should quickly resume dialogue, he said.

The lunch Saturday at Seoul's presidential mansion between Moon and Kim Yo Jong was the most significant diplomatic encounter between the rivals in years.

The Pences did not stand for the unified Korean team's entrance. Pence and the Kims seemed to go out of their way not to acknowledge each other.

But South Korea's presidential Blue House said Mr Pence had a meeting scheduled with United States athletes and had only planned to stay briefly to greet other officials.

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The opening part of the talks was mostly about the weather: Pyeongchang was colder than Seoul, it was agreed.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

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

"But I haven't been to Pyongyang", Moon said, according to comments provided by his office.

"North Korea must recognize that the strong ties between Japan, the United States and South Korea will never waver", he told reporters after meeting with Moon.

Kim Jo Jong carried a blue folder adorned with a seal, which was later confirmed to have contained a private message from Kim Jong Un himself. The vice president also drew criticism from some openly gay members of Team USA, who questioned his role at the Olympics due to his anti-LGBT views.

Pence "did not come across" the North Koreans at the reception, a Pence spokesman said.

The latest North Korean diplomatic overture does not appear to have discouraged Washington from pursuing its strategy of pressure. A big one could be a demand to cease the U.S.

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The Games are taking place just 80 kilometres from the border with North Korea.

But if the Trump administration objects, it "will put the a very hard position in terms of public relations in South Korea", Mr. Han said.

"What can not be overlooked is that Moon did not directly demand North Korea to abandon its nuclear development". The United States fought with South Korea and maintains tens of thousands of troops and an "ironclad" agreement to protect its ally.

"There are some who would not want to be in the same room together if it wasn't for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics".

They seem to have gone unheeded.

The two Koreas marched together and South's president Moon Jae-in shared a historic handshake with Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong in a spirit of intense rapprochement.

"It seems clear", he said, "that the countries have entered a phase of restoring a regular level of contact".

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