US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea

US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea

US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea

She's not what we expected: not stiff, but smiling.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks in Pyongyang, South Korean officials say, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

Kim has captivated media attention and fascinated the public since her arrival on Friday. That some South Koreans do glimpse this - what percentage, we don't know - doesn't mean the dictator's sister is "winning a diplomatic dance" or that Pence's visit hasn't gone well, and it certainly doesn't mean that South Korea is about to be Finlandized. Hoping to discern what she's thinking, analysts pored over video of her eyes, and remarked on the tilt of her chin.

Before the ceremony, Pence went around a table and shook hands with each and every person seated there except Kim Jong-un's sister.

An official travelling with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Pyeongchang told reporters the Japanese government believed sanctions were "starting to bite", citing recent instances of ship-to-ship transfers at sea.

At a post-match press conference, North Korean player Jong Su Hyon sang the joint team's praises, saying, "One united is stronger than two divided".

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The team is Canada's largest for a Winter Olympics, but some of the athletes skipped the festivities while others indicated beforehand they would leave soon after their march around the pentagon-shaped venue with the official start of competition looming Saturday.

How significant is Kim Jong-Un's sister's visit to South Korea and the meeting with the South's president in particular, in your view? But rather than presenting herself as a stiff party operative, she has looked engaged and interested during multiple outings in Seoul, Pyeongchang and Gangneung.

He also talked about visiting the North Korean border town of Kaesong, where the countries operated a jointly-run factory park that had been a symbol of rapprochement before South Korea shut it down in 2016, after North Korea's fourth nuclear test. So he chose to treat the Winter Olympics as an opportunity not only to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but also to spur momentum for dialogue on denuclearisation.

One telling incident came early.

While America continues to play hardball, North Korea is taking the soft power route into the hearts and minds of their kin to the south, and judging by the appreciation of the 230 by the PyeongChang crowds, the charm offensive might just be working.

The furious activists accused Moon of undermining South Korea's alliance with the United States and allowing North Korea to stage its "propaganda" during the Pyeongchang Winter Games by sending their athletes and red-clad cheerleaders to compete.

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean President Moon to Pyongyang
Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks between the two nations for the first time in a decade. After sitting at a table, Kim Yo Jong placed a blue document folder in front of her.

When a ferry carrying North Koreans to the Games docked in South Korea last week, the North asked its hosts for the fuel needed to get it home, Seoul's Unification Ministry said.

President Moon Jae-in attended a North Korean art troupe's concert in Seoul on Sunday, expressing hopes that the reconciliatory mood for inter-Korean dialogue would be maintained going forward.

The Korean women's hockey team, the first in Olympic history to combine players from North and South, was routed 8-0 by Switzerland on Saturday night in its debut game, outshot 52-8 in a matchup that could have been far worse if not for the goaltending of Shin So Jung. After the game, the entire group walked around to the Koreans' bench to greet them and pose for photos.

"I never expected to come here on such short notice to be honest, and I thought it would be odd and different but it's not", Kim Yo Jong said at a dinner Sunday night before heading home.

Some North Korean experts believe tough United Nations sanctions that are cutting off most of the isolated regime's sources of revenue might pressure Pyongyang to further engage with Seoul. It's too early to tell (although skeptics are already shaking their heads at all of the above).

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