Meeting ends between S Korean leader, N Koreans

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

In a historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, the South Korean leader was presented with an invitation to visit their reclusive neighbor state to the North. It was a sharp, but possibly fleeting, contrast with many months of rising tensions connected to the North's continued development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Hundreds of South Korean activists gathered in protest of their northern counterparts Sunday, burning the North's flag and ripping up posters of dictator Kim Jong Un's face.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are speaking while watching Olympic speedskaters compete, hours after Moon received a historic invitation to visit North Korea.

Her presence overshadowed the nominal head of the delegation, Kim Yong Nam, the aging head of the North Korean Parliament.

"I can not remember any games when we did not have transportation problems in the beginning", Bach said. A big one could be a demand to cease the U.S.

Past "charm offensives" have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear program, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its USA ally.

"I leave here very confident that we are going to continue to do the things we've known have to be done to continue to pressure North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions", Pence said.

"These cancellations do not worry us at all", he said.

A USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more important would be how Pyongyang behaved after the Olympics. The riverside facility is named after late U.S. Army commander Walton Walker, who's considered a war hero in the South for his battles against the North during the Korean War. Kim Yo Jong is 28 years old, according to the USA government.

In South Korea and beyond, commentators are taken with Kim's surprisingly stylish and relaxed demeanor. They were whisked back and forth between Seoul and the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung.

A delegation of more than 500 North Koreans are attending the Games.

But it lost 8-0, and the chances of the dazzling but largely symbolic moves leading to a tangible political breakthrough are nearly as remote, analysts say.

Kim Yo Jong is the sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and is a key advisor to her brother. What we witnessed in Pyongyang, and we witnessed again yesterday, on the eve of the Olympics - what [South Korean] President Moon [Jae-in] said last night, he hopes will be an Olympics of peace - was once again an effort on the part of the regime in Pyongyang to display their ballistic missiles, to display a military that continues to make menacing threats across the region and across the wider world.

Providing fuel to the ferry would have been a hard decision for Seoul because of concerns that North Korea is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in global sanctions against the country over its nuclear and missile programs.

Park said that two scenarios could play out over the summit.

Moon and Kim Yong Nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, will jointly attend the unified Korean women's ice hockey team's first match later Saturday evening.

Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump's lookalikes revealed they had planned to meet US Vice-President Mike Pence and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo-jong when they gatecrashed the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Moon was invited to a summit with Kim, even as the United States warned against falling for Pyongyang's Olympic charm offensive.

President Trump has traded insults with North Korea's leader and has led efforts to slap sanctions on the country for its refusal to yield to worldwide pressure to halt its nuclear weapons program.