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10 February 2018, 01:25 | Cameron Gross
Patrick Semansky/2018 Getty Images
After arriving on Kim Jong Un's personal jet at the South's ultramodern Incheon International Airport- the North's flagship airline is subject to sanctions - she traveled to Pyeongchang to attend the games' opening ceremony, where the North and South Korean athletes will march together behind a blue-and-white "unification" flag.
Moon has invited Kim and other senior North Korean officials to a luncheon at Seoul's presidential palace on Saturday.
That said, these officials said that if the North Koreans had approached Pence with pleasantries, he would have responded in kind.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned South Korean President Moon Jae-in not to fall for North Korea's "smile diplomacy" during the Olympics, saying the North remains committed to developing nuclear weapons and missiles even while pursuing talks with the South.
Pence is leading the USA delegation to the Pyeongchang Games' opening ceremonies and will also participate in symbolic events meant to shine a spotlight on North Korea's nuclear program and human rights abuses.
The vice president's office confirmed that neither the vice president nor his wife, Karen Pence, had any interactions with North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong Nam, or Kim Yo Jong.
Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah says Pence visited with guests at several tables at Friday's reception, "but did not come across the North Korean delegation". Pence made it clear that the USA continues its efforts to increase pressure on North Korea with economic sanctions, while Moon expressed the hope that the Winter Olympics might be "a venue that leads to dialogue" about denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula.
The spokesman said Mr Moon replied that the North and South should continue to work to build conditions so that a summit can take place. Jo Yong Sam, department director general of North Korea's foreign ministry, said Thursday the country had never "begged the USA for dialogue" and wasn't about to start now.
On the same page is a photo of Kim Yo Jong shaking hands with Moon at the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday.
The first liberal president in a decade, Moon during his inauguration speech previous year that he would be willing to visit Pyongyang and meet with Kim Jong Un if that helps solve the nuclear problem. The American Vice-president added that in the closed-door meeting that he had with the South Korean president, Seoul acknowledges the importance of economic embargo to the North in bringing the regime into inter-Korean talks.
Saturday's meeting also involved two other high-level delegates - Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.
Since diplomatic efforts are "almost zero", sources said this may signal a "calm before the storm", with North Korea quietly preparing its next moves for after the Olympics.
Kim Yo Jong, 30, is the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
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