Mike Pence says United States ready to talk with North Korea

People can visit the North Korean submarine that was stranded in South Korean waters in 1996

"We should firmly keep in mind that any talks where denuclearisation is not a precondition only to buy North Korea more time to complete its nuclear capabilities while they fool us with their peace offensive facade", party spokesman Chang Je-won said, according to Reuters.

Pence and the North Koreans have been an awkward presence at the Games to say the least.

"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization", Pence was quoted on Sunday as saying.

"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", said Pence's spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah. "Do you want to make Pyeongchang Olympics a "lie Olympics"?" he asked.

His comments appear to mark a shift from the more hard line stance previously embraced by the United States government of exerting maximum pressure on North Korea with a view to engaging directly only after Pyongyang made real concessions. Pence had previously warned that North Korea would try to "hijack the message and imagery" of the Olympics and stressed that the world shouldn't let North Korea hide behind the Olympic banner. "Here's to hoping that we could see the pleasant people [of the South] again in Pyeongchang and bring closer the future where we are one again".

"It's a step in the right direction", said Mintaro Oba, a former United States diplomat who worked on North Korea policy, but cautioned pressure would remain the focus of USA policy.

The North Korean nuclear issue is also directly linked to South Korea's national security.

The Seoul show was attended by President Moon Jae-in and North Korea's high-level delegation, including Kim Yo-jong, younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the North's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam. Kim Yo-jong was the first member of the North's ruling dynasty to visit the South since the Korean war that ended in an armistice in 1953.

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North Korean media lauded the players and supporters of the unified Korean women's ice hockey team after their first match at the Olympics - without mentioning their 8-0 drubbing.

Mr Pence confirmed that the US and South Korea had agreed on the terms of further diplomatic engagement with North Korea, first with Seoul before potentially leading to direct talks with Washington.

The invitation left Moon with the pressing task of convincing North Korea to engage in dialogue over its nuclear and missile programs without alienating its biggest ally, the US. It provides a real fix to the break between Washington and Seoul. They stressed the North Koreans in the VIP box had watched Pence, Moon and Abe hold a running discussion in the front row for the more than two-hour ceremonies.

"Moon should realize that offering economic benefits for symbolic North Korean gestures is not only ineffectual but would themselves risk being violations of United Nations resolutions", Klingner said.

Mike Pence (bottom right) at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics near Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong.

The DPRK delegation met with ROK President Moon four times during the historic three-day visit.

North Korean daily newspaper the Rodong Sinmun on Monday also published its assessment of the visit.

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