Come Visit: S. Korea's Leader Invited To N. Korea

United States' Vice President Mike Pence left and his wife Karen attend the men's 1500 meters in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung South Korea Saturday Feb. 10 2018

The delegation, the highest-ranking to visit the South and led by the younger sister of the North's leader Kim Jong Un, concluded its visit on Sunday after charming and intriguing the South Korean public, but still faces deep scepticism over Pyongyang's sincerity towards improving relations.

In Pyongyang, North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper also reported on the Games bonhomie, publishing photos of its ceremonial head of state clinking glasses with Moon and of the South's leader also shaking hands with a telegenic Kim Yo Jong.

This isn't the first time that the North Korean team has missed out on free devices from long-time Olympics sponsor Samsung.

Global alarm at the rapid advance of nuclear-armed North Korea's weapons technology rose further previous year when the regime tested its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile theoretically capable of hitting the mainland U.S., in a challenge to Washington that has threatened to "utterly destroy" the regime in the event of an attack.

"We hope to see you in Pyongyang at an early date", Kim Yo Jong told Moon after delivering a personal letter from her brother, according to officials.

The spokesman says Moon replied that the North and South should continue to work to build conditions so that a summit can take place.

The US administration has sought to maintain pressure on North Korea through sanctions and tough rhetoric from President Donald Trump.

This items corrects that Kim Yo Jong is the leader's sister.

And while the Summer Games, precipitated by pro-democracy demonstrations and free elections marked a new era of success for South Korea, the 1989 Festival practically bankrupted North Korea months before Berlin wall fell, taking with it communism in much of eastern Europe and ushering in the end of the Cold War.

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But North Korea's bad record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind.

South Korea said the two sides on Saturday had held "a comprehensive discussion ... on the inter-Korean relations and various issues on the Korean Peninsula in an amicable atmosphere", but did not say whether the North's weapons program had been mentioned.

A USA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said more important would be how Pyongyang behaves after the Olympics.

Pence had not been trying to avoid the North Koreans at the Olympic opening ceremony but had been trying to ignore them, the senior administration official said, adding that the North Koreans weren't the reason Pence was there.

At a Friday VIP reception for delegation leaders, Pence arrived late and stayed for just five minutes - and did not interact with the delegation from the North.

Also at that game: the famed cheer squad from North Korea - more than 100 identically dressed women who sing, perform choreographed moves and cheer on their team. "It raises expectations for success [and] makes the North Koreans look like they are driving cooperation, but puts pressure on Seoul to show more flexibility than Washington is likely comfortable with".

Washington calls it a campaign of "maximum pressure".

Except that Kim Jong Un and his team, by some accounts, pay considerable attention to how the USA perceives them. The North Korean orchestra will return home on Monday after their second and last performance on Sunday.

If the dictator believes his sister's press clippings from CNN and the Washington Post - if he thinks his sister has won a gold medal for "diplomatic dance" and that she has added to the distance between South Korea and the US - it could make him more reckless. "Here, too, the important thing to do is coordinate with South Korea".

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