North Koreans wrap up whirlwind of Olympic diplomacy

North Koreans wrap up whirlwind of Olympic diplomacy

North Koreans wrap up whirlwind of Olympic diplomacy

Pence, who was in South Korea for the Olympics, has said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

But his tough talk was largely overshadowed by the powerful image of athletes from both Koreas marching together under a unified flag and North Korean cheerleaders rooting for a combined women's hockey team, even though it was routed 8-0 by Switzerland in its first game on Saturday.

Pence and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in agreed on a post-Olympics strategy during conversations at the Winter Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang that Pence dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement at the same time".

If the inter-Korean meeting at the highest level is to be convened in Pyongyang, it would be the first in a decade following the ones in 2000 and 2007, held in the North's capital during the years of the so-called "Sunshine Policy", which marked the closest relations to date between the two countries. It was the only documentation on the table on the North Korean side.

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Kim Yo-jong, the sister of leader Kim Jong-un, became the first member of the Kim dynasty to travel to South Korea, where she conveyed during a meeting an invitation for president Moon to meet in Pyongyang with the North Korean leader.

The North Koreans were to fly back to Pyongyang later Sunday on a private jet, wrapping up a three-day trip.

Kim Yo-jong carried a bright blue folder as she entered the conference room at the Blue House, Seoul's presidential office, and some analysts speculated it could contain a letter from her brother.

However, South Korea's main opposition party warned any talks between the two Koreas where the scrapping of North Korea's nuclear programme was not a precondition would only "benefit the enemy".

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the developments.

Moon has expressed hope the détente could lead to a broader dialogue with the United States.

Instead, Pence arrived late to a reception for delegation leaders Friday and stayed for just five minutes - without interacting with the North Koreans.

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Kim's sister is said to be acting as his special envoy in the south during the Games.

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