The 22-member delegation of North Korean high-level officers arrived in South Korea on Friday for a three-day visit, ahead of the Opening Ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games celebration.
On Sunday, however, Mr Pence insisted "there is no daylight" between the United States and its ally, Seoul, over how to handle Pyongyang, but his actions in South Korea this weekend tell a very different story.
One instance of such a personalised intervention was on display at the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, when Kim Yo Jong, sister of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, extended an invitation to the South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit meeting. "In the days before the Olympics, all the news was about Kim, not South Korea", she said. Moon's chief of staff held a farewell dinner for the delegation before the delegation attended a performance by a North Korean orchestra, the last item on their itinerary before heading home.
A torchbearer lights the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics
It is also a loaded message that North Korea is willing to be a part of the "comity of nations" but not at the terms dictated by the US.
Last year, North Korea conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions as it pursues its goal of developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States.
Seizing on this good will from the South, Kim Jung-Un invited President Moon to Pyongyang for a summit meeting.
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She is rumored to have even taken control of North Korea when her brother was ill, which means that at one point in time, she had her hand on the wheel of one of the world's most oppressive regimes.
"In the midst of all of this, he (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) ran a military parade that highlighted his ballistic missiles", Mattis told reporters on his plane en route to Rome on the first leg of a European tour.
South Korea's main opposition party, the Liberty Korea Party, warned that any talks between the two Koreas, without the precondition of scrapping the North's nuclear programmes, would only "benefit the enemy".
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It warned against agreeing to talks before North Korea scrapped its nuclear program, saying it would only "benefit the enemy". Kim is now among her brother's top 20 officials and is seen as something of a gatekeeper to the leader, the analysts said.
North Korea's nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, a member of the delegation, was seen wiping away tears with his handkerchief and at times clapping enthusiastically during the show.
On Saturday, the DPRK delegation paid a visit to Moon at the presidential Blue House.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis also denied rumblings that North Korea could drive a wedge in Washington and Seoul's relationship.
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The 28-year-old is a crucial part of the North's Games delegation led by Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state. Moon also urged North Korea to talk to the United States, his office said.
"Clearly it is too early to say. if that is going to have any traction once the Olympics are over", Mattis said.