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Kim Jong Un invites South's Moon to Pyongyang: Seoul

11 February 2018

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.

Relations between the two Koreas are apparently improving after North Korea chose to join the Pyeongchang Olympics that began Friday, but Pyongyang has so far shown no sign of abandoning its missile and nuclear development programs.

"Had it not been for the Pyeongchang Olympics, some of us might not have had chance to be together in the same room", he said at the reception for VIPs before the Opening Ceremonies. The top U.S. envoy to the Games, Vice-President Mike Pence, sat stone-faced as the crowd erupted in cheers for the unified Korean team - showing the rift between Washington and its South Korean ally on how to deal with the North's nuclear and military ambitions.

Vice President Mike Pence is facing backlash for his staunch efforts to ignore North Korean officials at the Winter Olympic Games, even as the two Koreas continued their temporary truce, marching and competing as one team.

Hundreds of anti-North Korea protesters scuffled with riot police not far from the stadium before the opening ceremony began, with some banners reading "Moon regime is leading Korea to destruction".

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Moon asked the North Korean delegation during Saturday's meeting to engage in dialogue with Washington "at an early date", the Blue House said.

Mr Pence spoke after paying tribute at a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed in the sinking of a warship in 2010 that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

The visual was important, a USA official said.

Abe has stressed the importance of trilateral cooperation involving the United States to address the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs. In it, Kim Jong Un highlighted several huge intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were successfully flight tested three times a year ago and could reach deep into the USA mainland when perfected.

While describing the deal as "seriously flawed", Moon has said Seoul will not seek to renegotiate it, though he did express hope for a fresh Japanese apology to the victims, who were forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.

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It was a moment that may well define these Olympic Games: first came smiling athletes walking side by side under a flag of Korean unity.

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.

The six nations were working to implement a framework deal they reached in September 2005 under which Pyongyang was to give up its nuclear programme in return for massive economic and energy aid and an end to its diplomatic isolation.

Moon met Kim Yo Jong and the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam for talks and lunch at the Blue House today. "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". Mr. Moon has said in the past that he only wanted to meet the North Korean leader if they can make progress on nuclear issues.

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Kim Jong Un invites South's Moon to Pyongyang: Seoul