Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Olympics show US and South Korea out of sync on North Korea

South Korean figure skater Kam Alex Kang-chan left and North Korean skater Kim Ju Sik took a selfie together before training at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang State Dept. calls North Korea military parade a 'dog and pony show'
Ellis Copeland | 12 February, 2018, 15:46

Vice President Mike Pence said in a newspaper interview the United States and South Korea have agreed on terms for further diplomatic engagement with North Korea, first with Seoul and then possibly leading to direct talks with Washington without pre-conditions.

The invitation, delivered by Kim's visiting sister Kim Yo Jong, said Kim was willing to meet the South's leader "at the earliest date possible", said a spokesman for the presidential Blue House.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the first Games held in South Korea in 30 years, officially opened on Friday with fireworks, song and symbolism featured amid celebrations of light, peace, and harmony.

Washington is not expected to support the initiative - recently the Trump administration has been exerting "maximum pressure" on North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme.

Pence also said he was "encouraged" by the bilateral meeting with Moon.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday met with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister and special envoy of top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un.

In the interview, Pence said the US and South Korea agreed on terms for further engagement with North Korea, calling the diplomatic path "maximum pressure and engagement at the same time".

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"It was a very emotional moment to get finally there after many years of hard work and many negotiations still taking place here", the German said the morning after the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Swiss President Alain Berset shakes hands with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam.

But one of the women told reporters they had traveled from North Korea's capital, Pyongyang.

Civilian contact is strictly banned between the two Koreas, which have been divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

As for sharing Moon's box with the North Koreans, the officials said they knew in advance who was going to be in Moon's box to watch the opening ceremony.

On Saturday, Kim Yo-jong "courteously" handed over a personal letter from the North Korean leader to Mr. Moon and told him of her brother's "intention", North Korea's state news agency KCNA said, without elaborating what that was.

The delegations shared a lunch of dried pollack dumpling soup, a regional specialty of the only divided province on the Korean peninsula, and soju, a spirit popular on both sides of the heavily militarized border.

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