At Olympic Games, Kim Jong Un's sister takes VIP seat

At Olympic Games, Kim Jong Un's sister takes VIP seat

At Olympic Games, Kim Jong Un's sister takes VIP seat

They are part of an extraordinary diplomatic push by the North aimed at using the Olympics to ease tensions with Seoul and bolster unity between the two Koreas after a year that has been marked by escalating fears of war and increasing angry rhetoric between Pyongyang and Washington.

The spectacle was greeted with apparent joy by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his guest, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

USA officials have been urging South Korea to be cautious in its rapprochement with the North - a point Pence drilled home in private meetings with Moon on Thursday. "We wanted the North Koreans to see the vice president, Abe and Moon sitting directly in front of them for the Opening Ceremonies, and it would show that that alliance is strong".

The North Korean delegation's visit to the South Korean presidential office was the first of its kind since August 2009, when a high-level North Korean delegation made a rare trip here for the funeral of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who held the first-ever inter-Korean summit with then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2000.

Mr Moon later officially declared the Olympics open, followed by a burst of fireworks.

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Short track is one of the most popular sports in South Korea and as a series of home skaters reached the later rounds of the men's 1,500 meters and the women's 500, the North Koreans celebrated by waving flags in support.

Mr Pence stood to welcome the USA athletes as the Korean pop hit "Gangnam Style" blared around the stadium, sparking the "Horse Dance" in the crowd and among the volunteers.

President Trump's right-hand man was at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday night to watch the opening session of short-track speedskating and, for the second evening in succession, he was unable to avoid a connection to North Korea. They said Pence could have opted to sit with the USA delegation and avoided the box that included the North Koreans.

"We hope that President (Moon) could leave a legacy that would last over generations by leading the way in opening a new era of unification", she said.

The Pences did not stand for the unified Korean team's entrance.

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"For our team meetings it is going through to English to South Korean to North Korean". She and the rest of the North delegation are to join Moon for a meal on Saturday.

Earlier Friday, Abe and Moon affirmed their stance of raising pressure on the North Korea in talks ahead of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

"Is it really that different from speaking to someone from another region in South Korea?"

At an earlier VIP reception for delegation leaders, Pence arrived late and stayed for just 5 minutes - and did not interact with the delegation from the North.

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