S.Korean president to meet high-ranking DPRK delegation on February 10

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Just before the opening ceremony, Kim Yong Nam attended a dinner for visiting foreign dignitaries hosted by Moon.

So as pleasant as that lunch between North and South Korean leadership may have been, it won't mean much until diplomats from the US settle in for some of the local delicacies.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited the South's President Moon Jae-in for a summit in Pyongyang Saturday, Seoul said, even as the USA warned against falling for Pyongyang's Olympic charm offensive.

The meeting comes after the U.S. warned against engagement with Pyongyang.

Kim Yo Jong cuts a contrasting figure to her brother in North Korea's formal and tightly controlled state propaganda.

The North Korean artists performed Thursday in Gangneung, a coastal city that will host the skating, hockey and curling events during the games, and are to perform again in Seoul.

Kim Yo Jong Kim Yong Nam second from right North Koreas nominal head of state and Ri Son Gwon left attend the meeting with South Korean President t Moon Jae-in right during a meeting at the presidential house in Seoul on Feb. 10 2018
The Associated Press

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from U.S. aggression.

Past "charm offensives" have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear programme, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its USA ally.

Among the reasons for skepticism: The accusations that South Korea has had to arrange huge payouts for past meetings, and that these earlier encounters, while producing indelible images, have done little to slow North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaking at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Games, South Korea, yesterday.

So far, the South Korean President seems keen to take up his North Korean counterpart's offer, which comes as no surprise.

Pence rode to the reception with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the two held a private conversation while waiting more than 10 minutes for a photo opportunity with Moon.

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"It is absolutely necessary for the North and the United States to engage in talks at an early date", he cited Moon as saying. Jo Yong Sam, department director general of North Korea's foreign ministry, said Thursday the country had never "begged the U.S. for dialogue" and wasn't about to start now. North Korea has tested a record number of missiles past year and has shown no interest in abandoning the country's nuclear program.

That stance, though, could complicate South Korea's relations with the United States.

Speaking at his swearing in ceremony a year ago, Moon said he would be willing to travel to Pyongyang "under the right conditions", adding that "for peace on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything that I can do".

Moon said improved relations between the Koreas may be a step toward resolving the nuclear standoff.

Moon has expressed his intention to use the Winter Olympics as a chance to make diplomatic inroads with the North and restore normalcy, following months of high tensions on the Peninsula.

The young North Korean leader and his sister were favourites of their father, who ruled North Korea from 1994-2011. South Korean participants included senior officials Jeong Eui-yong, Jo Myong-gyoon and Im Jong-suk - the chief presidential secretary.

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The US vice president is in Pyeongchang at the same time as a high-level North Korean delegation including leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, and nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam. US Vice President Mike Pence, sitting a few seats away in the same Opening Ceremony VIP booth, looked stony faced as the scene unfolded.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power previous year on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North.

The sister of the North Korean leader has arrived in South Korea, dressed in a black coat and absorbing a barrage of camera flashes.

An International Olympic Committee spokesman said drones that were scheduled to be used in the opening ceremony were not deployed.

She smiled brightly as she was greeted by South Korean officials led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon at a meeting room at Incheon International Airport.

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