The United States and South Korea have agreed on terms for further diplomatic engagement with North Korea, first with Seoul and then possibly leading to direct talks with Washington without pre-conditions, Vice President Mike Pence said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday. -South Korean military exercises, a non-starter for the alliance. But this time things were different, and Kim Jong-un sent his own sister to deliver his invitation.
In Thursday's performance, the group sang a song with alternate lyrics asserting a claim over a pair of islands at the center of a territorial dispute between South Korea and Japan.
The North Koreans went through a busy schedule in South Korea as the world watched their every move.
"In the midst of all this, he ran a military parade that highlighted his ballistic missiles".
Even so, there's also cautious optimism, or curiosity at least.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Sunday hosted a lunch for the high-ranking delegation from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), including the younger sister of top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un. "We can't say right now".
In recent years, Kim has risen through the ranks to become a member of the senior leadership and one of Kim Jong Un's most trusted advisers.
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The Games in Pyeongchang, however, do stand out for one big reason: the massive sporting event is taking the form of a detente between North and South Korea, a minor easing of inter-Korean tensions that have plagued the bilateral relationship since the previous South Korean government shut down the joint industrial complex in Kaesong and Pyongyang stopped answering South Korea's calls.
At the luncheon proposed a toast, calling for peace and "mutual prosperity" for the two Koreas.
Many members of the orchestra arrived at the eastern port city of Donghae on Tuesday aboard the North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92, as an exemption to sanctions imposed in retaliation for the North's torpedoing of a South Korean Navy vessel in 2010.
Despite President Moon's efforts to encourage diplomacy, the childish anti-diplomatic behavior of Vice President Pence undermined an opportunity for peace diplomacy at the opening of the Olympic Games, writes Kevin Zeese.
As for Kim Yo Jong herself, she isn't just a figurehead.
Kim is now among her brother's top 20 officials and is seen as something of a gatekeeper to the leader, the analysts said. Officials didn't reveal what was written in it. The delegation is expected to head back to the North later Sunday. The Koreans were crushed by Switzerland, 8-0.
"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.
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Moon did not immediately accept the invitation.
There's worry, too, that the proposed summit in Pyongyang may come with preconditions - a North Korean specialty. VP hangs out with US athletes instead of dining with Kim regime.
"Without inter-Korean coordination, the United States would return to pressuring North Korea". It warned against agreeing to talks before North Korea scrapped its nuclear program, saying it would only "benefit the enemy".
The unified Korean team marches in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Pence carried a similar message.
After decades of bloodshed and strife, including a runup to the Olympic Games that saw the rival Koreas lurching toward war amid a near-constant barrage of North Korean missile and nuke tests, it's such a ludicrous concept at first glance that many refuse to even consider it.
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"It seems clear", he said, "that the countries have entered a phase of restoring a regular level of contact".
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