Korean president hosts lunch for Kim Jong Un's sister

A young performer participates in the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang South Korea Friday

(VIDEO IN) The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is here to meet the South Korean president with as we said, the North's nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam, Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, who led inter-Korean talks last month.

Quoting a number of diplomatic sources, CNN said yesterday there is a good chance she will invite Mr Moon to visit Pyongyang sometime this year, with Aug 15 being touted as a potential date.

The Trump administration is cautious of Seoul falling for North Korea's charm offensive during the Winter Olympics, which are taking place amid tension over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

A Blue House official said Moon "practically accepted" the invitation.

"We would like to see you at an early date in Pyongyang", Kim Yo Jong told Moon during the lunch, and also delivered her brother's personal letter that expressed his "desire to improve inter-Korean relations", the Blue House said.

The South Korean president also stressed the need for the communist North to resume its dialogue with the United States.

The young North Korean leader and his sister were favourites of their father, who ruled North Korea from 1994-2011.

ReutersSouth Korean president Moon Jae-in greets the president of the Praesidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea as Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's president Kim Jong Un, looks on.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned South Korean President Moon Jae-in not to fall for North Korea's "smile diplomacy" during the Olympics, saying the North remains committed to developing nuclear weapons and missiles even while pursuing talks with the South.

Kim Yo Jong was to have lunch Sunday with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, the country's No. 2 official, and return to Pyongyang on Kim Jong Un's private jet later in the day.

Kim Yo Jong and the rest of the North Korean delegation sat next to Vice President Pence at the Olympic's opening ceremony Friday, but they did not speak or acknowledge each other.

"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program", Pence told reporters on his flight back to the United States. But the prospect could sow division between the dovish leader, who has long argued for engagement with the nuclear-armed North to bring it to the negotiating table, and US President Donald Trump, who a year ago traded personal insults and threats of war with Kim. "The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the developments.

The North Korean issue is especially emotional in South Korea because the peninsula, which had been one country for thousands of years, was arbitrarily cut in half at the end of World War II, in what was supposed to be a temporary division.

Absolutely, xx. This is really history in the making here at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from US aggression. Pence also attended the Games opening ceremony but had no contact with the North Korean delegation.

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

Moon shook hands with both Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam at the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday and they cheered as athletes from North and South entered the arena together behind a unification flag showing an undivided Korean peninsula.



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