Pence out to counter NKorean 'propaganda' at Olympic games

In cold, poor South Korean mountains, Winter Olympics begin

Kim Jong Un's sister landed at Incheon airport on Friday afternoon, marking the first time a member of the dynasty that has ruled North Korea since 1948 has officially entered South Korea.

A man impersonating US President Donald Trump and a man impersonating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un showed up at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

At the opening ceremonies on Friday, Pence sat stone-faced in his seat as Moon and North Korean officials stood together with much of the stadium to applaud their joint team of athletes.

After accompanying Pence during his flight back to Seoul following the opening ceremony Friday night, Politico reported on US officials account of the vice president's unexpected five-minute stay at the Olympic dinner with foreign dignitaries.

But the USA vice-president left the reception venue after five minutes, South Korea's Yonhap said.

South Korea's president shook hands with the head of North Korea's parliament - at an historic meeting ahead of the Games. If peace isn't imminent, a summit in Pyongyang between Moon and Kim Jong Un seems preferable to recent months' threats.

Mr Pence seeks to counter what he called North Korean "propaganda" around the Winter Olympics, and is eager to put a reality check on the thaw in relations between the Koreas in advance of the Games.

"As we speak, an estimated 100,000 North Korean citizens labor in modern-day gulags", Pence said.

Abe said he had confirmed with Moon the need to maintain strong pressure on North Korea to get it to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes, reiterating Tokyo's stance that "talk for the sake of talk is pointless".

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 past year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

After sitting at a table, Kim Yo Jong placed a blue document folder in front of her. Moon has looked to the games, which open today, as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with the North - a move Pence cautioned against.

Looking confident and relaxed, she had a brief meeting at the airport with South Korean officials, including Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, before being whisked away in a black limousine and catching the high-speed train to the mountains of Pyeongchang. The night before, Kim and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Olympics, watching a "unified" Korean team march under a banner showing an undivided Korean Peninsula.

It's highly unlikely that the luncheon will lead to an immediate breakthrough in global tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons development, but just holding such a meeting seemed unimaginable only a few months ago.

Moon's office says the North Korean delegates were served traditional food from the Gangwon province, a mountainous coastal area that's home to the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white "kimchi" or fermented cabbage.

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