Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for talks in the North

Pence pushes S. Korea toward more hawkish N. Korea policy

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.

He said Moon also called for the USA and North Korea to renew communications.

Female ice hockey players from both Koreas will compete as one team in the Olympics, which open Friday and will be attended by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister and other senior officials.

North Korea's latest display of its military hardware focused on missiles and less on tanks and artillery, suggesting it was trying to project the image of a country with advanced capabilities in warfare.

She is the first member of Pyongyang's ruling dynasty to set foot in the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Administration officials said they had long expected the North would seek to use the Olympics, taking place just 50 miles (80 kilometers) 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.

If that's the case, it may already be paying off for Kim Jong Un.

In a sign that tensions remain high between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper described Trump in an editorial on Tuesday as a lunatic who was slandering the nation with talk of North Korean oppression.

With the North Korean official's attendance at the Olympics raising hopes of high-level inter-Korean talks, Pence stopped short of ruling out the prospect that he could meet senior North Korean officials, despite President Donald Trump having cast doubt on US negotiations with Pyongyang anytime soon. USA officials have grown increasingly dire in their warnings about the North's march toward developing an operational nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, arrived in PyeongChang earlier in the day with the DPRK delegation.

Pence shied away from public criticism of Moon when they met Thursday evening, congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledging continued support in addressing the North's nuclear threat.

Although Kim Yo Jong ranks diplomatically lower than Kim Yong Nam, as Kim Jong Un's sister she is considered more important in North Korea.

Kim Yong Nam on Friday took a picture with Moon and his wife Kim Jung-sook before entering the reception room.

Senior Pyongyang foreign ministry official Cho Yong Sam said the North had "no intention" of meeting U.S. authorities during the trip.

The young North Korean leader and his sister were favorites of their father, who ruled North Korea from 1994-2011. He also said the ceremonies were not the appropriate venue for serious talks.

Security for anything involving the North Koreans has been exceptionally tight.

Though it has no real medal contenders and sent only 22 athletes, North Korea has turned out to be a major political player in PyeongChang.

The rhetoric by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who had attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics were in fact disruptive.

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