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North Korea Invites Southern President to Pyongyang

12 February 2018

The two Koreas have been divided since the conflict ended in a ceasefire in 1953, and the democratic South has risen to become the world's 11th-largest economy, while the North has stagnated under the Kim family's rule.

The U.S. and its allies are not ruling out military action against North Korea, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News. She is considered the gatekeeper of her brother's appearances and security, according to Michael Madden, the founder and director of NK Leadership Watch, an analysis website focused on North Korea.

The North's representative, its highest-level official ever to visit the South, was placed between Olympics chief Thomas Bach and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"Honestly, I didn't know I would come here so suddenly".

In the VIP room upon arrival at Incheon, television cameras show a smiling Kim gesturing to Kim Yong Nam, the 90-year-old who is technically North Korea's head of state and was technically leading the delegation. It was built in the 1960s under the government of late anti-communist dictator Park Chung-hee as a luxury facility for USA troops stationed in South Korea.

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Whatever the result the All Korea v Switzerland match at the Gwandong Hockey Centre in the coastal city of Gangneung will be a sell-out - with millions watching the prime-time games both north and south, as well as around the world. Pence, for his part, has mostly made news walking out of dinners and not shaking hands with people.

Moon hosted talks and a lunch with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the North Korean leader, at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

After years of frustration, billions of dollars and a nagging national debate about their worth, the opening ceremonies took place before a world watching the moment not only for its athletic significance and global spectacle, but for clues about what the political future of the peninsula could hold. They noted that the plane had been given the flight number 615 - a reference to June 15, the final day of the first inter-Korean summit in 2000.

Abe, who is set to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in later on Friday, said he and US Vice President Mike Pence had reconfirmed that Washington and Tokyo stood together "100 per cent" at meetings in the Japanese capital this week. Reviving inter-Korean talks is key to the polices of Moon, who says South Korea should be in the driver's seat in worldwide efforts to deal with the North's nuclear threat.

Pence and the North Korean delegation, who both attended the Games opening ceremony, had no contact with each other.

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Mr Pence shook hands with other leaders, including close ally Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe , but not Kim Yong-nam. Many observers remain suspicious of North Korea's intentions, given the regime's history of brutality and aggression.

An International Olympic Committee spokesman said drones that were scheduled to be used in the opening ceremony were not deployed.

She said: 'When I heard they were joining our team, I thought worst-case scenario, we are going to be separate, out players are not going to talk.

Always flanked by thick groups of bodyguards, Kim Yo Jong commanded attention wherever she went, walking among throngs of journalists with a quiet poise and occasionally shooting an enigmatic smile at cameras. 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 previous meetings came after rounds of worldwide talks aimed at eliminating the North's nuclear program, which eventually failed.

Moon's desire to engage North Korea was in contrast to his US ally.

"You must have had a hard time (yesterday) due to the cold weather", Moon offered in his greeting as he received the North Korean delegates for the meeting at his office.

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That said, these officials said that if the North Koreans had approached Pence with pleasantries, he would have responded in kind.

North Korea Invites Southern President to Pyongyang