North Korea: US says 'no daylight' between allies despite warmer ties

Kim Yo Jong center sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives at Incheon International Airport in South Korea on Friday February 9. Kim is part of a high-level North Korean delegation attending the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics. She's the fir

The delegation has been in the country since arriving Friday to attend the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

In June 1950 fighting broke out between the communist North and capitalist South, sparking a brutal war that killed between two and four million people.

And when the Koreans emerged, with North Korea ice hockey player Chung Gum Hwang and South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong both holding the flag of a unified Korean peninsula, they were greeted to an ovation from 35,000 cheering spectators.

But US has distanced itself from the North Korean overtures.

Pence rode to the reception with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the two held a private conversation while waiting more than 10 minutes for a photo opportunity with Moon.

However, Seoul has hinted at attempting to forge closer relations with Pyongyang, saying today the South would be open to discussing resuming tours to North Korea's Mount Kumgang once the security of tourists was guaranteed and conditions relating to North Korea's nuclear programme were met.

The officials, who spoke on condition because they were not authorized to discuss the US 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. There was another handshake.

The Korean women's hockey team will make its Olympics debut in a sold-out game against Switzerland on Saturday.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from USA aggression.

The North's presence in the South has dominated Olympic headlines, with the winter sports festival triggering a flurry of cross-border trips culminating in the diplomatic delegation.

Moon received a letter from Kim Jong Un through her sister, in which Pyongyang's leader expressed his willingness to mend ties between the two countries.

Hundreds of protestors gathered in Seoul on Sunday to vent their anger at what they called the "Pyongyang Games".

Yet the pageantry around a "Peace Olympics" has also created disquiet for many South Koreans.

Yoon Young-seok, an opposition party member of parliament and chairman of the foreign affairs and unification committee, said he is skeptical of the initiative because it doesn't contain a specific plan toward getting North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

It is the first time a member of the ruling dynasty has visited the South since 1953, when an armistice ended fighting in the Korean war.

That may turn out to be errant speculation, but the US doesn't appear to share global relief that there's a glimmer of hope for diplomacy after a year of escalating tensions and fears of nuclear war, fueled by insults slung between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Following the launch from a site north of the capital, North Korean state media announced the November test was a success. They tore photos of Kim Jong-un.

'Royal Family air' Pence has repeatedly said he would deliver a tough message to the North in any meeting.

The North took control of much of the South before a United Nations -backed force of USA troops pushed back the invading troops and entered the North's territory.

Analysts say the North's decision Kim Yo Jong to the Olympics shows an ambition to break out from diplomatic isolation and pressure by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.

With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea's presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games.

Providing fuel to the ferry would have been a hard decision for Seoul because of concerns that North Korea is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in worldwide sanctions against the country over its nuclear and missile programs.

But the Soviet-controlled North and US -controlled South remained separated, the North declaring itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the South calling itself Republic of Korea.



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