Amid Olympic thaw, Pence says allies united in isolating North Korea

North Korea figure skating pairs team of Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik practice on the same ice with the South Korean tandem of Kim Kyu-eun and Kam Kang-chan at Gangneung Ice Arena's training rink on Feb. 5 2018

An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South's Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang. The dictator's sister, Kim Yo Jong, and the country's 90-year-old nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, were seated a row behind.

"On a political level in Seoul, there is no wedge that can be driven between us by North Korea", Mattis said, echoing comments made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

The athletes elicited a standing ovation by most leaders in the VIP box, including Moon and Kim's sister.

Administration officials said they had long expected the North would seek to use the Olympics, taking place just 50 miles from the heavily-mined Demilitarized Zone dividing the Koreas, as an opportunity to put a softer face on the regime, and painted Pence's visit as a counterbalance to those efforts. "I like the reconciliatory mood and I have high expectations", said Kim Sang-yoon, a 44-year-old businessman who drove almost five hours to see the opening ceremony with his wife and two sons.

Chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee Choe Hwi and Mr Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, also attended the lunch meeting.

They shook hands with Moon and cheered for athletes from the two countries who marched under a unified peninsula flag for the first time in a decade.

According to the South's Unification Ministry, Kim Yong Nam was born in February 1928 in Pyongyang. Saturday's game ended in a crushing 8-0 loss to Switzerland.

On Thursday, the eve of the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, North Korea staged its very own military parade, filled with intercontinental ballistic missiles, speeches, and, of course, thousands of marching soldiers.

The apparent thaw has not been reflected in Washington, however.

There was U.S. vice president Mike Pence's warning that even though he was attending the opening ceremony, he wasn't going to enjoy himself (or something like that).

Pence, who is leading the USA delegation to the Olympics, has accused Pyongyang of using the event for its own ends.

"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", Pence said.

South Korea's Kim Yuna thought she had seen and done it all during her stellar figure skating career, but lighting the Olympic cauldron as the final torchbearer of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics took her breath away.

Washington has pursued a strategy of exerting maximum pressure on Pyongyang through tough sanctions and harsh rhetoric, demanding it give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons first for any dialogue to occur.

Pyongyang has ruled out a meeting with the U.S. delegation during the Winter Games.

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