With the unprecedented political developments at the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang in South Korea, mild cracks appear to be running across the shell surrounding the uneasy alliance that used to reacts on impulse, whenever the atmosphere over the Korean Peninsula rumbled.
On Friday, hours before the opening ceremony, Pence met with four North Korea defectors and visited the Cheonan Memorial, which honors the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack attributed to Pyongyang.
Pence and his wife, Karen, reportedly were the only people in that suite not to stand for the Korean delegation, which was made up of South Korean and North Korean athletes during the parade.
The North's leader also sent his sister, Kim Yo-jong, and the country's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, to the South.
But away from the spotlight, these two unwanted guests, men dressed as North Korea supreme leader and the U.S. president, were escorted away from the premises.
The unified Korean team snapped a selfie at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from U.S. aggression. "Because in my opinion, they're pretty much the same person", the Kim impersonator said.
"You will inspire us all to live together in peace and harmony despite all the differences we have", said International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, before Moon declared the Games open.
She is the first immediate family member of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung to ever set foot in the South.
Pence spent the days leading up to the Pyeongchang Olympics warning that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery" of the event with its "propaganda".
The recent detente, dramatic evidence of which was on show at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programme past year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington. But the Trump administration insists any negotiations must include the global community's demands that the North abandon its nuclear weapons program. A joint ice hockey team, comprising of both North and South Korean players will take part in the Winter Games.
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.
The United States and Japan have agreed to continue to put maximum pressure on North Korea in cooperation with the South until Pyongyang takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.
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