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Kim Jong Un invites South Korean President Moon to Pyongyang
11 February 2018, 04:00 | Devin Moran
Clive Mason Getty Images
South Korean President Moon Jae In has rejected a request by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to swiftly resume the country's joint military drills with the United States, his office said Saturday.
All broke out in broad smiles.
Cho plans to greet the delegation, led by ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, at a hotel in Gangneung, some 237 kilometers east of Seoul, at 6:30 p.m. they added. They are part of an extraordinary diplomatic push by the North aimed at using the Olympics to ease tensions with Seoul and bolster unity between the two Koreas after a year that has been marked by escalating fears of war and increasing angry rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.
But South Korea's presidential Blue House said Mr Pence had a meeting scheduled with U.S. athletes and had only planned to stay briefly to greet other officials.
Pence "did not come across" the North Koreans at the reception, a Pence spokesman said.
Many older South Koreans on both sides of the political divide harbour a nostalgic longing for some form of reunification - conservatives through the North's collapse, liberals through a more amicable arrangement. "Special envoy Kim Yo Jong delivered a personal letter" from her brother stating his "wish to improve inter-Korean relations", said Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.
Mr Pence, Ms Kim and other world leaders attended the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, just 80km from the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea. There was another handshake.
A large percentage of the North Korean Olympics contingent - which now totals 492 people - is made up of women, including those with prominent public roles, like hockey players and cheerleaders.
Joseph DeTrani, former US special envoy for nuclear talks with North Korea, said Moon should make it clear to Kim that he wants to discuss the nuclear and missile issues at the summit.
The North Korean diplomatic initiative comes amid growing global pressure, led by the United States, aimed at imposing maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on the regime.
The latest North Korean diplomatic overture does not appear to have discouraged Washington from pursuing its strategy of pressure.
Choe and Kim Yo Jong also are under direct American sanctions for human rights abuses related to their roles in censoring information in North Korea. "I think they take a message from the fact that she is young, sophisticated and super elite as an indication that the North Koreans want to calm things down a little bit".
Pence has been waging a campaign to stop Pyongyang from "hijacking" the Olympics with its charm offensive. We can not guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.
"We would like to see you at an early date in Pyongyang", Kim Yo Jong told Moon during the lunch, according to another Blue House official.
That's unlikely to be an accident, said Mr. Han, whose career also included time as South Korea's ambassador to the United States.
"It was a very emotional moment to get finally there after many years of hard work and many negotiations still taking place here", the German said the morning after the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
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Winter Olympics kicks off with historic handshake
The North has sent 22 athletes and hundreds of cheerleaders, performers and taekwondo demonstrators to PyeongChang . He criticized the Trump administration for straining too hard to signal disgust of Kim Jong Un's government.