North Korea judged victor of diplomatic gold at Olympics

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

CNN goes on to call Kim Jong Un's sister "North Korea's Ivanka Trump", a label also used by the Washington Post in its frivolous, fawning story.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea-Japanese government officials are showing increasing concern as South and North Korea move closer toward engaging in discussions at the highest levels. However, the statement made no mention of Mr Kim's invitation to Moon to a summit at his earliest convenience. To help prevent this outcome, and with Kim refusing to discuss denuclearisation with his "brethren" in the South (at whom he claims his missiles are not aimed), Moon now must figure out how to build up the intra-Korea dialogue to enable talks between North Korea and the US.

Provided there are no overwhelming security concerns presented, it seems likely that Moon will indeed accept the invitation from Kim, delivered both on paper and via personal invite from the younger Kim present. She also delivered a letter inviting Moon to a summit with her brother in Pyongyang, and asked him to play a "leading role" in reuniting the two Koreas after almost seven decades.

"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.

President Moon hosted Kim at the presidential mansion for lunch on Saturday - a session in which Kim extended an invitation for Moon to visit North Korea later this year.

Moon responded in a noncommittal way, saying that he wanted to "create the environment for that to be able to happen".

Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test a year ago and in November tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile, which experts said has the range to reach anywhere in the United States.

Moon Jae-in must now walk a fine diplomatic line as he tries to encourage North Korea's new interest in dialogue without straying too far from the "maximum pressure" approach championed by the United States, South Korea's military ally.

Kim Yo Jong, as a special envoy for Kim Jong Un, joined the delegation led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea.

The officials, who spoke on condition because they were not authorized to discuss the USA approach publicly, also denied that Pence had been blindsided by the seating arrangement - with the North Koreans in the row behind him, allowing Kim Yo Jong to be easily pictured in profile next to the vice president.

A senior U.S. official said Pence and Moon, while watching speed skating together on Saturday night, discussed intensifying sanctions. He has been trying to beat back North Korea's charm offensive while working to fix the break between the USA government and South Korea, whose leader is openly pushing for more engagement with Pyongyang.

In a tweet, she referenced the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died last year after being held prisoner for more than a year and a half in North Korea. Moon also greeted Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, who was seated behind him.

The unified Korea women's ice hockey team were soundly beaten 8-0 by Switzerland on Saturday's opening day of the Winter Olympics as sport and politics continued to mix in Pyeongchang.

But there were also some signs of a break in unity between the neighboring states, which technically still remain at war after the Korean War ended in an armistice, most notably the stark contrast over the significance of forming a unified Korean team.

Analysts say the North's Olympic diplomatic drive seeks to loosen global sanctions against it and undermine the alliance between Seoul and Washington. The crowd at Kwandong Hockey Centre came alive each time Korea took possession, as did North Korea's all-female cheerleading squad.

At the opening ceremonies Friday, Pence sat stone-faced in his seat as Moon and North Korean officials stood together with much of the stadium to applaud their joint team of athletes.

The North's delegation arrived in the South on Friday and is to head back home late Sunday.