N.Korea stages show of force with new missiles during parade

N.Korea stages show of force with new missiles during parade

N.Korea stages show of force with new missiles during parade

Kim Yo Jong, left, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Friday.

She and her delegation were greeted by government officials, including Unification Minister Cho Myong Gyon, when they arrived at the Incheon Airport. Moon ran for (and won) his country's highest office on a platform of diplomacy with the North.

This is in line with Moon's hopes that the inter-Korean detente could lead to broader negotiations on the core challenges facing the Korean Peninsula.

After the threats, missile launches and general nastiness from the North over the past year, there is still a lot of anger, fear and scepticism in the South. He then recalled his past visit to the North's Diamond Mountain resort, where he and his mother met his North Korean aunt during a temporary reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

"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. A big one could be a demand to cease the U.S.

Moon has invited Kim and other senior North Korean officials to a luncheon at Seoul's presidential palace on Saturday.

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At a VIP reception before the opening ceremony, Mr Pence and Kim Yong Nam were in the same room, according to Jarrod Agen, his deputy chief of staff, but Mr Pence "did not come across the North Korean delegation" at the event.

Should Moon make his way north, it would mark the first meeting between the top officials of the two Koreas since 2007, when South Korea's Roh Moo-hyun and North Korea's Kim Jong-il discussed nuclear non-proliferation and economic cooperation.

A high-level North Korean delegation including leader Kim Jong Un's sister has arrived at a train station in Pyeongchang hours ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

Past "charm offensives" have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear program, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its US ally.

Saturday's meeting, the most significant diplomatic encounter between the two sides in more than a decade, could now be surpassed should Moon accept Kim's invitation to visit Pyongyang later this year.

She is also a vice director of the ruling Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department, which oversees and directs state censorship and propaganda.

North Korea invites South president
The two countries have also formed a joint women's hockey team, which consists of 23 South Koreans and 12 North Koreans. Much has been made of Olympics rapprochement between North Korea and South Korea, which are still split by war.

Presidential Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a press briefing that Moon will meet and have lunch Saturday with the ranking DPRK delegation, led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.

The two Koreas will march together in the opening ceremony and even field their first-ever joint Olympic team, in women's hockey.

But Ms Kim has risen to greater authority far more quickly than her once powerful aunt, said Dr Cheong Seong Chang, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think-tank. Pence, who is using his visit to South Korea to underscore the Trump administration's policy of maximum pressure on the North, has publicly and repeatedly warned Seoul not to let down its guard to a North Korean charm offensive.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power a year ago on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programme.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from US aggression.

It was that position which led the U.S. Treasury Department to blacklist her previous year for censorship and "severe human rights abuses".

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