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Washington denies rift with Seoul over inter-Korea talks

12 February 2018

Opening ceremonies showed North and South Korean athletes marching together under a flag depicting a unified peninsula.

According to the Blue House, Yo Jong told Moon that Jong Un wanted to meet the president "in the near future" and would like for him to visit the North "at his earliest convenience".

The North Korean leader shows no sign of budging on his nuclear program, having conducted four nuclear tests since he took power in 2012 and nearly perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Pence, who was in South Korea for the Olympics, has said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

A joint ice hockey team, comprising of both North and South Korean players will take part in the Winter Games.

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Pence was reported to have said he reached the new understanding with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has been pushing for diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, in two substantive conversations during his visit to South Korea.

Bach said in an interview on Monday he would make the visit on the North's invitation as part of an agreement between the International Olympic Committee and both North and South Korea.

In a rare honour for visiting foreign guests, Mr. Moon met Mr. Kim's sister, Kim Yo-jong, four times during the delegation's three-day visit.

The prospect of talks comes after months of tension between Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons, with US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un trading insults and threats amid tightening sanctions from the United Nations. "So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify".

Otto, a student at the University of Virginia, was detained in Pyongyang in January 2016 while on a tourist trip to North Korea.

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in December the US was ready to talk without preconditions, only to have the White House nix the notion.

He also did not shake hands with Kim Yong Nam while making a brief appearance at a leaders' reception ahead of the ceremony - although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is also regularly threatened by Pyongyang, did so, while exchanging pleasantries with the North Korean. "The two Koreas should cooperate to fan this spark into a flaming torch". Moon shared details with Pence of his meeting with North Korean leaders, but did not talk about the invitation to talks in Pyongyang.

"Now is not the time to postpone US-South Korea military exercises".

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of the ruling Kim dynasty to visit the South since the end of the Korean war.

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Washington denies rift with Seoul over inter-Korea talks