North Korean leader's sister to watch joint Korean hockey team


Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister and close adviser, just sat down for a historic meeting with the president of South Korea in the latest surprising development to come out of the North's decision to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un attended the Pyeongchang Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday.

On the eve of the opening ceremony, the North carried out a large military parade in Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Korean People's Army and displayed what appeared to be ICBMs.

This is the first time a member of the Kim dynasty has traveled to South Korea, though their grandfather, Kim Il Sung, went to areas occupied by his troops south of what is now the Demilitarized Zone during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Pence said the USA would "demand at the outset of any new dialogue or negotiations that the Kim regime put denuclearisation on the table".

When a hotel on South Korea's east coast was asked at short notice to host almost 280 North Korean visitors, the problem wasn't finding enough rooms.

While Moon did not hesitate to shake hands and smile with his North Korean visitors, Pence didn't appear to even look in the direction of the North Korean delegation during the Friday event. The result: a heady, sometimes surreal, state of affairs in a South Korea that has seen far more threat than charm out of the North.

A separate one-page cheat sheet provided by Inje Speedium to its staff points out that North Koreans don't use English words like shampoo and conditioner, which are used in the South.

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Pence also reportedly avoided North Korea's delegation at a VIP reception prior to the ceremony.

There is speculation Pyongyang could invite Moon to visit later this year.

A Blue House official said Moon "practically accepted" the invitation.

The delegations shared a lunch of dried pollack dumpling soup, a regional speciality of the only divided province on the Korean peninsula, and soju, a spirit popular on both sides of the heavily militarised border. White House officials stressed that Pence had applauded only for the American team, but Asia experts said the vice president's refusal to stand could be seen as disrespectful to the hosts.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Pence said Mr Moon gave his backing to additional measures the United States is planning to try to curb North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programs past year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

She was joined in the meeting by Kim Yong Nam, another influential North Korean official, and wore a pin with the images of her father and grandfather - the North's previous leaders.