December 18, 2018

Korea joins hands at opening of 'biggest ever' Winter Olympics

11 February 2018, 12:40 | Devin Moran

Lindsey Vonn of the United States shows the gold medal she won in the women's downhill at the 2010 Olympics. Luca Bruno | AP 2010

Lindsey Vonn

South Korean President Moon Jae-in had "virtually accepted" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to Pyongyang, officials said on Saturday, making way for a first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

While Kim Jong Un expressed his willingness to improve inter-Korean ties in a personal letter delivered by his younger sister Yo Jong to Moon, the South Korean president stressed the involvement of the United States, saying, "U.S".

Moon hoped to use the Olympics to ease tensions and North Korea agreed to send high-profile officials as well as athletes.

They were seated not far from a section of North Korean cheerleaders who are attending the Olympics in a sign of warming ties between the two Koreas that Pence and other US officials have warned against. It was the only documentation on the table on the North Korean side. Oh, and a fake Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, who were promptly escorted out of the stadium.

Mr Pence, in a media interview Friday, said that the United States is fully prepared to defend its allies South Korea and Japan, and will continue to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea while "preserving all of our military options".

This image, provided by the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, shows inserts by North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam (on the left side) and Kim Yo-jong, a special envoy and younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, entered in the visitors' log during their visit to Cheong Wa Dae for a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on February 10, 2018.

As for sharing Moon's box with the North Koreans, the officials said they knew in advance who was going to be in Moon's box to watch the opening ceremony.

The Olympics have provided some respite from years of tense relations between Seoul and Pyongyang, though just hours before the ceremony hundreds of anti-North Korean protesters scuffled with riot police outside the stadium, burning North Korean flags and pictures of its leader, Kim Jong Un.

"Kim Yong Nam, Kim Yo Jong and President Moon Jae In and his wife all stood up to wave to the players of the north and the south", it said.

The Winter Games, staged only 80km (50 miles) from the North Korean border, saw the two Koreas, who are technically still at war since a 1953 armistice, march together at the opening ceremony for the first time since 2006.

This item corrects that Kim Yo Jong is the leader's sister.

An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South's Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white "kimchi" or fermented cabbage.

With his own sister present at the opening ceremony an under-the-radar attack would have allowed the North's leader to take pleasure in some disruption of the South's big spectacle without inconveniencing his family, unless the sister had big social media plans.

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