International Olympic Committee boss to visit North Korea after winter Games

International Olympic Committee boss to visit North Korea after winter Games

On Sunday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in sat next to Kim's powerful sister at a concert in Seoul by musicians from Pyongyang.

Speaking to the Washington Post aboard Air Force Two on his way home from the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Pence-who avoided any direct contact with North Korean officials attending the Games-said Washington would keep up its "maximum pressure campaign" against Pyongyang but would be open to possible talks at the same time. The North also a year ago conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

The statement from the Ministry of Unification came after a high-level North Korean delegation concluded a three-day visit which included an invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to travel to Pyongyang for talks. "That is a very unusual time, if in fact he is trying to show a warming", Mattis said, referring to Kim Jong Un.

"I think this overture towards South Korea is partly sanctions-related, and also related to the fact that it's clear a divergence has developed between Washington and Seoul's most keenly desired goals in the near term", said Andray Abrahamian, a research fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS in Hawaii.

"We want to see President Moon become a protagonist in opening a new chapter for reunification and leave great footprints in history", she said.

Japanese Prime Minister's Shinzo Abe told Moon during their meeting at Cheong Wa Dae that he favors the swift resumption of joint US-South Korean military exercises, which had been delayed until after the Olympics to ensure calm during the Olympics.

The North's delegation to the Games also includes the country's ceremonial head of state as well as hundreds of female cheerleaders.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

As First Vice-Director of the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, Kim has been an increasingly prominent figure in North Korea's leadership and is considered one of the few people who has earned her brother's absolute trust.


North Korean officials refused to meet with any US representatives after months of tensions between the two countries over the North's nuclear weapons program.

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

But the agreement made little headway after the North carried out a series of nuclear and missile tests, and after conservative presidents took office in the South, adopting a harder line on Pyongyang.

Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

He said the United States would take whatever "action is necessary to defend our homeland" against the North Korean nuclear threat, according to an interview with NBC.

After months of silence on whether it would even take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, which had their opening ceremony yesterday, nuclear-armed North Korea has gone on a charm offensive, dispatching athletes, performers and Kim's sister plus other diplomatic delegates to the South.

The North and South held summits in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, both hosted by late Kim Jong-il, the father of Kim Jong-un.

Meanwhile, South Korea said it will seek ways to continue engaging North Korea, including trying to arrange more reunions for families divided by the Korean War and aim to lower military tensions.

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