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Kim invites Moon to Pyongyang: Seoul

10 February 2018

Both of the high-ranking North Korean officials met and shook hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who was seated directly in front of the North's delegation. He made it clear from the start that he came to the Games with a message of "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.

Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan later explained that the US vice president was originally scheduled to hold separate dinner with USA athletes at the PyeongChang Olympic Games, insisting his early departure did not mean a boycott. He supported Pence's moves to meet with North Korean defectors, paying respects at a memorial to 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack blamed on the North. Pence also invited as his Olympics guest the father of USA college student Otto Warmbier, who died after he was imprisoned by North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster.

Ms Kim invited Mr Moon to visit "at the earliest date possible", a spokesman for South Korea's presidential palace said.

Moon urged Pyongyang to actively seek an "absolutely necessary" dialogue with Washington, he said.

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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.

On Thursday, North Korea said its official delegation to the PyeongChang Olympics had no intention of meetings its US counterpart.

Pyeongchang Olympics organizers were looking into a disruption of non-critical systems on the day of the opening ceremony but could not yet confirm if it was a cyberattack, Games spokesman Sung Baik-you said on Saturday.

Officials traveling with Pence said it would be fair to characterize his failure to interact with the North Koreans as a mutual decision, with neither side making any public overtures.

But Schoff said that by pouring cold water on hopes for better inter-Korean relations, Pence's stance could be viewed as critical of Moon's outreach to North Korea.

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The first half had delivered little in the way of action as Stefano Pioli's team made life hard for the visitors. Referee Marco Guida initially awarded Fiorentina an 18th-minute penalty for a Giorgio Chiellini handball.

As Kim's regime has tested a series of ballistic missiles and threatened nuclear way, Trump famously vowed "fire and fury" against the North if the provocations continued.

After months of silence on whether it would even take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, which had their opening ceremony Friday, nuclear-armed North Korea has gone on a charm offensive, dispatching athletes, performers, and Kim's sister plus other diplomatic delegates to the South.

Pence and the North Koreans have been an awkward presence at the Games to say the least.

North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs, were also in attendance.

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Among the fans, there was an Indian woman who was carrying the tricolour and wanted a photograph with the star player. Afrdi recently reaffirmed his more than cordial relatioship with Indian captain Virat Kohli .

The visual was important, a United States official said. The North's political delegation was set to leave Sunday.

Kim invites Moon to Pyongyang: Seoul