North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong (right) shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang yesterday (Feb 9).
Though South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympic Games for the first time, the nation has some experience in the world of global athletics, having hosted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.
The grand event which will run through February 25 will see 2,920 athletes competing for 92 nations with a record 102 gold medals at stake.
Protests also marred the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, just 14 months after student demonstrations forced the South Korean government to enact major democratic reforms. US Vice President Mike Pence, sitting a few seats away in the same Opening Ceremony VIP booth, looked stony-faced as the scene unfolded.
Talks between North and South Korean leaders have happened in the past without yielding any significant changes in North Korea's behavior. He also greeted North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister, Kim Yo-jong during a dinner meeting, the Yonhap news agency reported.
Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test past year and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States. Kim Jong Il's sushi chef, Kenji Fujimoto, nicknamed them North Korea's "Prince" and "Princess" due to their upbringing and closeness to the former North Korean leader.
At Olympic Games, Kim Jong Un's sister takes VIP seat
They said Pence could have opted to sit with the USA delegation and avoided the box that included the North Koreans. The pair were photographed by a wire service giving each other a fist bump before getting the boot.
The North Korean delegation then took the bullet train to Gangneung, the venue of all ice competitions, and attended a banquet hosted by the South's unification minister Cho Myong-gyon.
It was that position which led the U.S. Treasury Department to blacklist her past year for censorship and "severe human rights abuses".
Trump has called Kim Jong Un "little rocket man" and promised to unleash "fire and fury" and "totally destroy" North Korea if needed to defend the United States and its allies.
North Korea's decision to participate has eased tensions after months of saber rattling and missile and nuclear tests that have raised fears it's closer-than-expected to achieving its goal of developing a nuclear weapon that could reach the USA mainland.
Analysts believe the Olympic diplomatic drive by the North - which put its ICBMs on show at a military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday - seeks to loosen the sanctions against it and undermine the alliance between Seoul and Washington. A White House official indicated that it was fair to cast the lack of interaction between Pence and the North Koreans in Moon's box as mutual.
Kim Yo Jong, 28, is the first member of the ruling Kim family bearing the bloodline of the sacred Mount Paektu, a centerpiece of the North's idolization and propaganda campaign, to cross the border into the South since the 1950-53 Korean War. Moon asked the delegation, before reporters were ushered from the room.
Meanwhile, Japan and the US are trying to keep up the worldwide pressure on Pyongyang.