Friday, 23 February, 2018

Kim's sister says hopes to see Moon in N. Korea

Fireworks explode over the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang South Korea Friday Feb. 9 2018 Pence to visit memorial for torpedoed warship, underscoring danger of North Korea
Doris Mccormick | 11 February, 2018, 03:40

A high-level North Korean delegation including leader Kim Jong Un's sister has arrived at a train station in Pyeongchang hours ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Kim Yo Jong, 30, is the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Moon and Kim Yong Nam were due to be in the stands as well, a Blue House spokesperson told CNN.

Moon responded to the invitation by suggesting the two countries "should accomplish this by creating the right conditions", adding that talks between North Korea and the United States were also needed, and requested that North Korea be more active in talking with the US, according to Kim Eui-kyeom.

"I think this overture towards South Korea is partly sanctions-related, and also related to the fact that it's clear a divergence has developed between Washington and Seoul's most keenly desired goals in the near term", said Andray Abrahamian, a research fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS in Hawaii.

For all of Vice President Mike Pence's efforts to keep North Korea from stealing the show at the Winter Olympics, the images of the two Koreas marching together - and their officials shaking hands - at a time of heightened tensions on the peninsula proved impossible to counteract.

Speaking a year ago at his swearing-in ceremony, 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".

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Moon and Kim Yong Nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, will jointly attend the unified Korean women's ice hockey team's first match later Saturday evening.

"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", he said in Japan earlier this week.

US officials have been urging South Korea to be cautious in its rapprochement with the North - a point Pence drilled home in private meetings with Moon on Thursday.

Moon has invited Kim and other senior North Korean officials to a luncheon at Seoul's presidential palace on Saturday.

Providing fuel to the ferry would have been a hard decision for Seoul because of concerns that North Korea is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in worldwide sanctions against the country over its nuclear and missile programs.

The spokesman says Moon also called for a quick resumption of dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

Moon's office says the North Korean delegates were served traditional food from the Gangwon province, a mountainous coastal area that's home to the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung. The Koreas could potentially talk about a South Korean special envoy meeting Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang or even a summit between Moon and Kim.

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