No handshakes as Pence avoids Kim Jong Un's sister at Olympics

No handshakes as Pence avoids Kim Jong Un's sister at Olympics

President Moon Jae-in is facing a dilemma over whether to accept North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to Pyongyang because he needs the blessing of the US that wants to apply "maximum pressure" on the isolated state.

They seem to have gone unheeded.

South Korean participants included senior officials Jeong Eui-yong, Jo Myong-gyoon and Im Jong-suk - the chief Presidential Secretary.

Moon was quoted by the news agency as saying, "The current visit of the delegation of the north side created a spark of improving the inter-Korean relations and ensuring peace on the Korean peninsula".

Others chanted 'Let's tear Kim Jong-un to death!' while tearing up a picture of the North Korean leader. This will be his 3rd summit with Moon.

"The Olympic outreach is likely meant to widen the already obvious rift between the USA (under Trump the ultra) and SK (under Moon the committed engager)", Robert Kelly of Pusan National University wrote on Twitter. The first liberal president in a decade, Moon during his inauguration speech past year that he would be willing to visit Pyongyang and meet with Kim Jong Un if that helps solve the nuclear problem. American Vice President Mike Pence, who also visited South Korea for the Olympic Games, notably avoided any interaction with the North Korean emissary whatsoever, opting not to participate in the good-will applause and similar gestures directed toward the sister of the ruler Pence referred to as "the most tyrannical" on Earth.

Kim Yo Jong is the sister of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un and is a key advisor to her brother. The last summit meeting between North Korean and South Korean leaders took place in 2007, more than ten years ago.

The North has sent its athletes to Pyeongchang, along with cheerleaders and performers, and dispatched a diplomatic delegation led by Kim Yong Nam, its ceremonial head of state, technically its highest-level official ever to visit the South.

"(The visit) shows that North Korea has a strong will to improve inter-Korean relations and that Pyongyang can make unprecedented and bold measures if deemed necessary", the ministry said. They were stopped and most were killed near the palace, which was newly rebuilt in 1991.

"You went through a lot of trouble braving the cold until late" last night, Moon told the North Koreans, referring to their attendance at the frigid opening ceremonies. Pence, who was seated just a few feet away from Kim, did not appear acknowledge her.

And at the Olympics itself, the North and South are competing as a unified "All Korean" team - marching under one flag at the Opening Ceremony and playing together at the ice hockey tournament.

Analysts say the North's Olympic diplomatic drive seeks to loosen global sanctions against it and undermine the alliance between Seoul and Washington.

A massive military parade in Pyongyang on the eve of the just-opened PyeongChang Games has been used as Exhibit A by skeptics: In it, Kim Jong Un highlighted several huge intercontinental ballistic missiles, which were successfully flight tested three times past year and could reach deep into the USA mainland when perfected.

"All the media in the South and the around the world are going gaga about Kim Yo Jong", said one commentator online. Seafood, once a major North Korean export, was now more widely available at home after United Nations sanctions banned these exports in August.

Moon's office said he told Abe that the talks between the Koreas would not disrupt worldwide efforts to deal with North Korea's nuclear program.

Though Moon has used the Olympics to resurrect meaningful communication with North Korea after a diplomatic stalemate over its nuclear program, he didn't immediately jump on the North Korean offer for a summit.

Pence claimed there was no daylight between the US and South Korea on the goal of North Korean denuclearization, without acknowledging that they disagree on the path toward that goal. It was built in the 1960s as a luxury facility for USA troops stationed in the South.

Earlier South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon had hosted a lunch for the Pyongyang delegation at a five-star hotel.

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