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Japan and South Korea still stuck on 'comfort women' deal

10 February 2018

Kim Yo Jong, left, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe restated Tokyo's opposition to revising a 2015 agreement on "comfort women" in talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, calling the deal a promise between nations and the basis of two-way ties.

Kim Yo-jong invited Moon to visit "at the early date possible", a spokesman for South Korea's Presidential Palace said.

Moon had said "let's create conditions to make it happen", the official said, an indication that Moon was likely to accept the invitation.

Soldiers taking part in the event
S.Korean president to meet DPRK delegation on Feb. 10

Saturday's lunch at the Blue House, as Moon's presidential compound is known in Korea, came shortly after Moon and Kim Jong Un's sister enthusiastically cheered on a unified Korean team as they walked around a stadium in Pyeongchang.

Perhaps the most intriguing geopolitical news to come out of the start of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, held in PyeongChang, South Korea, might be the fact that the two Korean states chose to unify on the global stage for the occasion. If peace is not imminent, a summit in Pyongyang between Mr Moon and Kim Jong Un seems better to most than the threats of recent months.

The protests erupted hours before two Senior North Korean officials were scheuled to arrive at the Winter Olympic Opening ceremony.

Pence, the leader of the US delegation, was among 12 leaders invited to an in-stadium reception by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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South Korea's Joongang Daily suggested that Moon has schemed to bring Pence face-to-face with North Korean leaders.

US Vice-President Mike Pence was sitting nearby when the gesture took place.

The South Korean President also stressed the need for the Communist North to resume its dialogue with the US.

The smiles and handshakes were friendlier than some of the North's past history with the complex - in 1968 Pyongyang sent commandos to attack it to try to assassinate the South's then leader.

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president to Pyongyang
The delegation's most substantive event may come outside of the Olympic ambit on Saturday. The meeting could turn out to be just a lunch, a photo op or a nicety.

The officials said Pence did not want to just exchange pleasantries with the North Koreans, and a chance encounter at the Olympics wouldn't allow for a more substantive discussion about North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have worsened over the past year, as North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear capabilities. Moon's spokesman said the meeting at the Blue House was held in a "friendly" mood.

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Japan and South Korea still stuck on 'comfort women' deal