North Korea's Kim invites South Korean leader for summit in Pyongyang


"By virtue of her family ties, Kim is among the most credible interlocutors that North Korea could have sent", said Christopher Green, a senior adviser on Korean affairs at the International Crisis Group think tank.

Since arriving in Seoul on Thursday, Pence has been delivering a strong message against the Kim regime and waging a campaign to stop Pyongyang from "hijacking" the Olympics with its charm offensive.

At the opening ceremony, Kim Yong Nam and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, waved to North and South Korean athletes who marched under a unified peninsula flag for the first time in a decade.

Talks between North and South Korean leaders have happened in the past without yielding any significant changes in North Korea's behavior.

The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Friday brought together leaders from around the world, with the United States seated near Japan, Germany, South Korea, and, surprisingly, North Korea. Also grabbing attention: earlier photos of birthday parties thrown for two North Korean players, and a dictionary aimed at overcoming a linguistic divide.

After the match, they exchanged words with the unified team after the match and posed with the team for another in a now long list of noteworthy photographs captured at the Games.

North and South Korea showed periodic demonstrations of unity during the "Sunshine Policy" years between 1998 and 2008 in both the Sydney Olympic Games in Australia and the 2004 Games in Athens in Greece, with both countries marching under the one flag.

South Korean player Ko Hyein said: "We had a tight game at first in the first period, but our mental toughness wasn't really good so we lost our posture after suffering the first goal".

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She and Kim Yong Nam, the North's 90-year-old nominal head of state, were seated behind Moon and his wife, while Mr Pence and his wife were seated beside the Moons and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.

At a dinner reception where President Moon sought an opportunity for dialogue between USA officals and North Koreans, Pence went through great - and somewhat awkward - lengths to avoid talking to them.

To add to the political intrigue, US Vice President Mike Pence, sitting a few seats away in the same VIP booth, looked stony faced as the ceremony unfolded. "They learned that winning isn't everything and you can get more cheers for trying to overcome differences". He wants them all to win medals. But, said Young, "for the most part, North Koreans impose rules on themselves, self-censoring from their indoctrination and ideological training in North Korea".

North Korea is under a heavy United Nations sanctions regime which was originally targeted at stopping the proliferation of arms and nuclear and missile technologies, but has become more all-encompassing after its accelerated missile testing.

"The current state of the Korean Peninsula is so dizzying because South Korea, North Korea and the United States are each thinking too differently", the newspaper said.

Sarah Murray, the Canadian coach of the Korean team, said she and her staff have intentionally played down the historic nature of the team since the players are facing enough challenges with the late addition of the North Korean players.

"All the South Korean public are going to need is one or two moments, what we'd call a Hallmark moment, with the two Koreas and it's going to dispel a lot of the negative feelings and negative tension the North has gotten because they're participating".