Kim Jong Un invites SKorea pres for talks

The Latest Abe warns Moon not to fall for'smile diplomacy

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's sister, making an unprecedented visit to South Korean soil, will now likely attend the same opening ceremony as US Vice President Mike Pence, who's vowing toughest-ever sanctions on the North.

"For now the North is asking for a price that is too high, and the USA is not willing to buy at that price", Kim told Seoul's JoongAng Ilbo daily.

At the opening ceremony Friday night, Pence was seated in front of Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un's sister and part of the North Korean delegation.

Pence had kept open the possibility for some contact with the North Koreans in South Korea, while reiterating Washington's insistence that denuclearization by North Korea is a necessary condition for permanent peace. Perhaps the best comparison is to the man who Moon has called his "destiny", and whose North Korean policy Moon is forever linked to: The late liberal president, Roh Moo-hyun.

The photo recalls a famous 2016 selfie taken by two North and South Korean gymnasts at the Rio Olympics - something that IOC President Thomas Bach described as a "great gesture". Abe attaches importance to close coordination among Tokyo, Washington and Seoul to pressure Pyongyang, while Moon intends to act as an intermediary for talks between the United States and North Korea by using another postponement of the joint drill as an incentive.

And as the South appeared to look favorably on warming ties on the Korean Peninsula, Pence insisted Saturday "there is no daylight" among the United States and allies South Korea and Japan in intensifying pressure on the North over its nuclear and missile programs.

"If I were working for CNN I would honestly resign before writing this piece", he tweeted.

Moon went on to cite the example of the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, where the two Koreas fielded a joint team.

Though this is not the first time athletes from the two countries have entered the Olympics together, it would take an extraordinary sporting feat to usurp the Koreans' march as the predominant moment of these Games.

"South Korea has some hard homework to solve regarding some countries", President Moon said in a speech before Pence arrived. It was built in the 1960s under the government of late anti-communist dictator Park Chung-hee as a luxury facility for US troops stationed in South Korea.

But the previous agreements broke down as North Korea pressed ahead with its nuclear program. They were whisked back and forth between Seoul and the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung.

Angela Ruggiero, a four-times ice hockey world champion and Olympic gold medallist, told Reuters she would ask others to nominate the team, which included 12 players from North Korea which is still technically at war with the South. Saturday's game ended in a crushing 8-0 loss to Switzerland.

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The nuclear-armed North's delegation is the diplomatic highlight of an Olympics-driven rapprochement on the divided peninsula. The divided nation came back into the spotlight previous year after Pyongyang made profound nuclear and rocket advancements.

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Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Vice President Pence, who is leading the US delegation to the Olympics, also accused the article of appearing to blot out the North Korean government's record.

"We hope that President (Moon) could leave a legacy that would last over generations by leading the way in opening a new era of unification", she said, according to Moon's office. The event was attended by North Korean ceremonial leader Kim Yong Nam, who accompanied Yo Jong to the Games.

The invite, presented to South Korean President Moon Jae-in by Kim's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was delivered during a historic meeting between North and South Korean officials at Seoul's presidential palace Saturday, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

In reality, tensions between Pyongyang and Washington continue to increase as North Korea has steadily been developing its nuclear weapons programme despite several rounds of strict sanctions on oil, textiles, and seafood products from the United Nations and the US.

Pence arrived in the country on Thursday, leading the USA delegation to the Olympics.

But even the most jaded will struggle to ignore the ruling Kim family dynasty's introduction to the South and attendance at the Pyeongchang Olympics, the most important moment on the world stage for South Korea in years.

Oh no, said the conservative Munhwa Ilbo: The visit is a cynical attempt to weaken global sanctions over the North's weapons programs and water down the U.S.

There is worry too that the proposed summit Pyongyang may come with preconditions - a North Korean speciality.

"The fate of our nation must be determined by our own selves - we must not allow the repeat of unfortunate past history where our fate was determined with no regard to our opinions", Moon said in a speech to South Korean lawmakers in November.

After the threats, missile launches and general nastiness from the North over the past year, there is still a lot of anger, fear and scepticism in the South.

She was promoted a year ago to the country's Politburo, the senior body of North Korea's communist party, as an alternate member.

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