North Korea's Summit Offer Could Test US-South Korea's United Nuclear Front

No concerns over North Korea 'hijack', says Olympics chief

Wearing a black coat and with her hair pulled back, she presents a marked contrast to the ceremonial head of North Korea's government - the often expressionless Kim Yong Nam, 90.

WASHINGTON-The United States and South Korea have agreed on terms for further diplomatic engagement with North Korea, first with Seoul and then possibly leading to direct talks with Washington without pre-conditions, Vice President Mike Pence said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power a year ago on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programs a year ago and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

A North Korean delegation, the highest-ranking to visit the South and led by the younger sister of the North's leader Kim Jong Un, concluded its visit on Sunday after charming and intriguing the South Korean public, but still faces deep skepticism over Pyongyang's sincerity towards improving relations.

Moon said he wanted to "create the environment for that to be able to happen", according to the office.

President Thomas Bach will visit North Korea after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics as part of an agreement between the IOC and North and South Korea, a source within the Olympic movement told Reuters on Monday.

Some North Korean experts believe tough United Nations sanctions that are cutting off most of the isolated North's sources of revenue have added pressure on Pyongyang to engage further with Seoul.

"President Moon must balance his desire for North-South reconciliation with his policy of denuclearization", Manning said.

In South Korea and beyond, commentators are taken with Kim's surprisingly stylish and relaxed demeanor.

This story has been corrected to show that the North Korean delegation stayed at the Walkerhill, not Wakerhill, hotel.

The meeting led to a series of reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, as well as the launch of a joint factory park in the North's border town of Kaesong in 2004.

The prospect of two-way talks between the Koreas, however, may not be welcomed by the United States.

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

Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test past year and in November tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile that experts said has the range to reach anywhere in the United States.

"This is the strongest action yet by North Korea to drive a wedge between the South and the United States", said Kim Sung-han, a former South Korean vice foreign minister and now a professor at Korea University in Seoul.

After arriving in Seoul on Friday, the North Koreans attended a chilly opening ceremony at Pyeongchang's Olympic Stadium, taking their place among world dignitaries, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who seemed to go out of their way to not acknowledge the North Koreans despite sitting just few feet (meters) away.

"We will fully cooperate with worldwide efforts regarding sanctions against North Korea based on our stance for a denuclearised Korean peninsula and a peaceful solution (to the North Korea nuclear issue)", the statement said.

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