Pence avoids meeting top N. Korean official

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits South Korea

Kim Yo Jong arrived in South Korea on Friday for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the alpine resort town of Pyeongchang, where she had her first face-to-face encounter with Moon.

At the opening ceremony, Kim Yong-nam and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, waved to North and South Korean athletes who marched under a unified peninsula flag for the first time in a decade.

It was the US that appeared to be the one left in the cold, especially after the sister of the North Korean dictator extended an invitation from her brother for Moon to visit the North. He had also met them at the Games opening ceremony yesterday.

The ersatz Kim, who is based in Hong Kong, also expressed hope that "the real Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un could also get on and not start World War Three". White House officials stressed that Pence had applauded only for the American team, but Asia experts said the vice president's refusal to stand could be seen as disrespectful to the hosts. She actually lit the cauldron as the home crowd roared.

The invitation was delivered in a meeting between Moon and the North Korean leader's sister, Yo-jong. "We are all touched by this wonderful gesture. It's not unfamiliar", Kim said when asked by one of the South Koreans at the dinner how she feels on the other side of the border.

The significance of Pence and the North Koreans sitting in the same box seemed to run counter to the mission he was supposed to undertake.

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"You must have had a hard time (yesterday) due to the cold weather", Moon offered in his greeting as he received the North Korean delegates for the meeting at his office.

She must have far bigger capacity than any other North Korean official when it comes to decision-making and policy coordination with the leader. It was set to be followed by a lunch hosted by Moon, Yonhap news agency reported.

"What we'd like to achieve by coming to South Korea, at the Winter Olympics, is to show the world this is what peace can look like when two leaders get along", said the Kim impersonator. This was not supposed to be, as some in Seoul grumble, the "Pyongyang Games", a play on the North Korean capital's phonetic similarity to Pyeongchang. The entire night, they cheered, even looping in South Korean fans seated in neighboring sections to join in on certain cheers.

Pyeongchang was not supposed to share the spotlight with Pyongyang. Just a few years younger than her brother, she is believed to be his closest confidant and is a senior cadre in North Korea's ruling party.

Tensions between the two soared a year ago as Pyongyang launched intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland and carried out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date. It has only deepened over the years as the North closes in on the ability to field an arsenal of nukes that can hit USA cities.

There was USA vice president Mike Pence's warning that even though he was attending the opening ceremony, he wasn't going to enjoy himself (or something like that). "Generally there's a positive view on [the] overall concept of North Korea participating in the Olympics, but on the details there are high levels of ambivalence, or some sense of unfairness like with hockey team".

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