North Korea invite is dramatic gesture, but not diplomatic breakthrough

North Korea invite is dramatic gesture, but not diplomatic breakthrough

North Korea invite is dramatic gesture, but not diplomatic breakthrough

USA college student Otto Warmbier was captured in North Korea in 2016, authorities said for stealing a sign praising leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea's reclusive leader Kim Jong-un has asked South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang at the "earliest date" possible for what will be a third inter-Korean summit, Kim's sister told the South Korean leader on Saturday.

A visit by Moon to the North would enable the first summit between leaders from the two Koreas since 2007, and would mark only the third inter-Korean summit to take place. Pence reportedly seeks to damp the spirit of reconciliation, recommending that South Korea cut ties with its neighbor after the games end. Kim was seen wearing a rosary ring, which her fans had previously mistaken for an engagement ring, during her silver-medal performance at the 2014 Sochi Games.

Moon and US President Donald Trump agreed via a telephone conversation on January 4 to postpone the joint annual war games during the Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games set to run from February to March.

The home crowd soared into cheers anytime the Koreans managed a breakaway - or, to be frank, if they touched the puck in Switzerland's half of the ice.

Her arrival on Kim's private jet with a coterie of 22 officials was broadcast live on South Korean television.

The evening concluded as every Olympic ceremony does, with the lighting of the flame and a spectacular firework display - 20,000 fireworks were used during the ceremony.

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The official objective of both North and South Korea is still reunification.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who had attended the opening ceremony seeking to counter North Korea's attempt to use the Olympics for propaganda, said the United States, South Korea and Japan were in complete agreement on isolating Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program.

He said before departing for Seoul the United States wanted to peacefully dismantle North Korea's nuclear programme but warned Pyongyang not to underestimate USA military strength or resolve.

The White House said Pence didn't avoid Yong Nam, noting instead that the North Korean leader was seated elsewhere.

Pence said he was inspired by the "bravery" of those who fled across the demilitarized zone - and honored to be joined by Fred Warmbier, who he called a "champion" for the North Korean people.

The two Koreas, which remain technically at war, have cycled through countless periods of chill and thaw since their division 70 years ago.

Kim, who captured gold at the Vancouver Games in 2010 and controversially took silver in Sochi four years later, performed a brief skate routine at Friday's opening ceremony before receiving the torch and sending flames shooting up to the cauldron.

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A Blue House official said Moon "practically accepted" the invitation. This time around, the North is using the 2018 Winter Olympics as an opportunity to heal the decades-old rift after an extended period of frosty silence and missile tests. Speaking to NBC's "Nightly News" on Thursday, the vice president continued to stress that the USA would protect itself from North Korean nuclear threats by taking whatever "action is necessary to defend our homeland".

North and South Korea teams entered together under the Korean Unification Flag during the Opening Ceremony.

The North Korean officials were first received by Moon's chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, who was standing outside of the main facility of Cheong Wa Dae.

Coach Sarah Murray has two assistants, South Korean Kim Doyun and North Korean Pak Choi-Ho - as well as Rebecca Baker from the USA. But though it was the North Koreans who shouted the loudest in support of this new team, there have been benefits to both countries.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is also in Pyeongchang for the opening ceremony.

The 1994 Games in Lillehammer, where temperatures plunged to -2.7C (27F), holds the record, but the mercury is not expected to creep above zero during the first few days of competition in South Korea.

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