Mike Pence didn't snub North Koreans deliberately, officials say

The officials, who spoke on condition because they were not authorized to discuss the USA approach publicly, also denied that Pence had been blindsided by the seating arrangement - with the North Koreans in the row behind him, allowing Kim Yo Jong to be easily pictured in profile next to the vice president.

"You went through a lot of trouble braving the cold until late" last night, Moon told the North Koreans, referring to their attendance at the frigid opening ceremonies.

Kim and the North Korean leader's sister are scheduled to hold a meeting with Moon on Saturday.

"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 aboard a flight back to the U.S. "But what is more important than anything is that we are together". The rhetoric by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who had attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics were in fact disruptive.

Although some White House aides were leery that the arrangement could produce less-than-ideal optics for Pence, there was no concerted effort to lobby their Korean counterparts for a change, in part out of fear of upsetting the Olympic hosts, said one administration official.

South Korean television showed a smiling Moon entering a reception room and shaking hands with the North Koreans, who also included Choe Hwi, chairman of the country's National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North's agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.

A spokesperson for President Moon has confirmed leader Kim's sibling Kim Yo Jong to have presented his summit offer in a lunch meeting at Seoul's presidential palace. Moon had earlier met Kim Yong Nam during a dinner he hosted for visiting dignitaries.

Absolutely, xx. This is really history in the making here at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea. It was attended by some 200 people, including more than two dozen global leaders, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the presidents of Estonia and Germany. The North also a year ago conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

Pence spent the days leading up to the games warning that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games" with its "propaganda".

Hours before Friday's opening ceremony in PyeongChang, Japan's Abe warned Moon not to fall for North Korea's "smile diplomacy" during the Olympics, according to Moon's office.

The team took to the ice for the first time on Saturday, losing to Switzerland but winning over the crowd as North Korean cheerleaders and South Korean fans roared the players on. Pence carried a similar message.



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