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South Korean president hosts lunch for delegation from the North
10 February 2018, 10:18 | Randall Craig
Pic Getty Images won three gold medals at Sochi 2014
The two wannabe leaders posed for pictures together as a symbol of thawing relations between the two nations amid tension over nuclear weapons and North Korea's missile program. The heavily militarized demarcation line that separates North and South Korea passes less than 100 kilometres from the opening-ceremony stadium.
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Moon's office said he told Abe that the talks between the Koreas would not disrupt global efforts to deal with North Korea's nuclear program. Reviving inter-Korean talks is key to the polices of Moon, who says South Korea should be in the driver's seat in worldwide efforts to deal with the North's nuclear threat. It marks a rare communication since 2004, when Japan's then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the North.
That said, these officials said that if the North Koreans had approached Pence with pleasantries, he would have responded in kind.
Kim Yo-jong is the sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un and is a key advisor to her brother.
As International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said in the lead-up to the ceremony, "The Olympic spirit is about respect, dialogue and understanding", adding that these Games "are hopefully opening the door to a brighter future on the Korean peninsula, and inviting the world to join in a celebration of hope". But he warned that it could come at a price of deteriorating ties with the United States and Japan, both of which maintain a hardline stance against the North. Pence declined the dinner-he chose to spend the time with American athletes, instead-where he would have been sat across from Kim Jong Nam.
The delegation was due to take a high-speed train to Pyeongchang, where the Olympics opening ceremony would be held later Friday, and attended by the USA vice-president, Mike Pence, and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
The officials, who spoke on condition because they were not authorized to discuss the USA 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.
Asked about criticism that Pence stood and cheered only for Team USA and stayed seated when the North and South Koreans marched in under a unified flag, the official was unapologetic.
Yonhap, a South Korean newswire service, first confirmed that the two met at the Opening Ceremony.
Earlier Friday, Pence traveled to the South Korean Navy's 2nd Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, to visit a memorial for the South Korean warship Cheonan, which was sunk by an explosion blamed on the North.
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