Pyongyang invites Moon for possible summit talks

Members of the North Korea cheering group gather before a welcoming ceremony inside the Gangneung Olympic Village before the 2018 Winter Olympics

The supporters cheered from all four sides of the ice rink as the unified Korean women's ice hockey team were hammered 8-0 by a strong Switzerland side.

A visit by Moon to the North would be only the third inter-Korean summit to take place.

"Moon is saying that although he is keen to reboot inter-Korean relations, the dialogue between the United States and the North is essential", said the South Korean president's spokesperson.

"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 programme", Pence told reporters during the return flight to the United States.

Despite Pence's remarks, the current administrations in Washington and Seoul have at times adopted contrasting tones when it comes to North Korea.

Their final appearance in South Korea was joining Moon at a Seoul concert of a visiting North Korean art troupe, led by the head of the immensely popular Moranbong band, whose young female members are hand-picked by Kim Jong-un.

In statements to to Athens-Macedonia News Agency (ANA), the ambassador said that when he asked Vasiliadis if he would fly to South Korea to attend the opening ceremony, the Greek deputy minister replied that it would cheaper to watch it together in Athens. The North Koreans left written messages in the Blue House's guest book.

During the parade of nations, they stood only for the US team. Pence, who led the USA delegation to the Olympics, has accused Pyongyang of using the event for its own ends.

According to South Korean media, this is the first time in more than eight years that North Korean senior officials visited the Blue House - since August 2009, when the North's delegates paid respects at the funeral of former president Kim Dae-jung.

That was not the case with Moon - either at the games, when he enthusiastically reached up to shake Kim Yo Jong's hand, or at the lunch the next day.

The Japanese Prime Minister visited South Korea for the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics at the country's east county of PyeongChang.

"In the past, both Japan and South Korea have gone along with conciliatory policies proposed by North Korea, but the only result has been to allow North Korea to continue with its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development programs", Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters in Saga Prefecture on February 10.

But the agreement made little headway after the North carried out a series of nuclear and missile tests, and after conservative presidents took office in the South, adopting a harder line on Pyongyang.

You could cut the tension with a ginsu knife as Mike Pence and his wife Karen sat observing the Winter Olympic festivities while Kim Yo Jong appeared to be every bit as bitter cold as the Pyeongchang clime they overlooked.



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