December 18, 2018

(Olympics) IOC hails two Koreas' handshakes at opening ceremony as 'historic moment'

11 February 2018, 12:42 | Anna Jefferson

(Olympics) IOC hails two Koreas' handshakes at opening ceremony as 'historic moment'

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a bilateral summit in South Korea's eastern city of Yongpyeong located 200 kilometers from Seoul on Feb. 9 2018

'It is absolutely necessary for the North and the United States to engage in talks at an early date, ' his spokesman said.

After the meeting, Moon had lunch with four North Korean officials, including Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong.

During the bilateral talks over lunch, neither side made mention of the North Korean nuclear issue, which is attracting worldwide attention as a major security concern, according to a presidential office source.

Moon is scheduled to host a luncheon at the Blue House presidential palace in Seoul Saturday for the delegation.

Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo-jong - were also in the box, seated in a row behind Pence.

Kim Eui-kyeom, South Korean president's spokesman, said at a news conference in Seoul on Saturday that the North Korean delegation delievered the invitation letter at a landmark high-level meeting at the presidential palace in Seoul. The games are seen as a pivotal moment for relations between the two countries, who have been officially at war since 1950. The South Koreans want to use the Olympics to ease tensions spurred by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

If Moon accepts the offer, it would be the first time a South Korean president entered North Korea since 2007 - and the third time overall. The last time a Japanese prime minister visited North Korea was in 2004.

The Winter Olympics, which started in PyeongChang this Friday, appear to have helped bring about a relative thaw in the situation on the peninsula.

She is a senior member of the North's ruling Workers' Party and a key adviser to her brother. That led to days of negotiations between the two countries, which in turn secured the north's participation at the 2018 Winter 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. But the Trump administration insists any negotiations must include the worldwide community's demands that the North abandon its nuclear weapons program.

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