Tuesday, 13 November, 2018

N.Korea extends invitation to South

North Korean media print pictures of South's Moon S. Korean unification minister hosts dinner meeting for ranking DPRK delegation
Kenny Thornton | 12 February, 2018, 03:10

From the seats, emotion-filled cries of "we are one!" and "unify the fatherland" filled the air as the North Korean cheering team chanted, waving the white-and-blue flags symbolizing Korean unification.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited the South's President Moon Jae-in for a summit in Pyongyang.

"Pence sat in front row and talked to Moon and Abe and their spouses, and the North Koreans sat in the back and didn't talk to anybody, and that image is telling", the official added.

The shutdown started just before yesterday's opening ceremony, where Moon twice shook the hand of Kim Yo Jong, the first member of North Korea's ruling dynasty to venture south since the 1950-53 Korean War. He told reporters that he would "continue to seize every opportunity to ensure that North Korea does not use the powerful imagery and backdrop of the Olympics to paper over an appalling record of human rights and a pattern of developing weapons".

KCNA, North Korea's official state media, called Pence's refusal to applaud the joint Korean team at the Olympics an "ugly sight" and warned the USA leader to "stop behaving imprudently" in opposition to improving inter-Korean ties.

That happened after the International Olympic Committee approved an agreement to add 12 North Koreans to a roster of 23 already set by the South Koreans.

Vice President Mike Pence did not deliberately snub North Koreans at an Olympic reception, according to U.S. officials who pushed back on South Korean reports that Pence deliberately came late to a VIP gathering Friday evening and then snubbed officials from Pyongyang.

Cheerleaders of North Korea hold unification flags during the opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium on February 9.

Some in South Korea disagree with that approach.

Mr Pence, Ms Kim and other world leaders attended the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, just 80km from the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea.

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All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

Then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il held two historic summits with counterparts from the South in 2000 and 2007, which eased tensions between the neighbours.

He also did not shake hands with Kim Yong Nam while making a brief appearance at a leaders' reception ahead of the ceremony - although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is also regularly threatened by Pyongyang, did so, while exchanging pleasantries with the North Korean.

North Korea's delegation to the Winter Olympics returned to Pyongyang on Sunday, ending a three-day visit that amounted to a remarkable diplomatic breakthrough for the South Korean government but left big questions about whether it could lead to solution to the decades-long military standoff between the two nations.

The spokesman said Mr Moon also called for a quick resumption of dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

During the talks, the prime minister held the stance that his government can not accept a series of moves in the Moon administration's handling of the issue, saying, "The agreement is a promise made between countries, and it should be upheld even after an administration change".

"The girls have been great; they fit in well with our team", said Marissa Brandt, who was adopted as an infant out of South Korea and whose sister plays on the US team. "They have people hungry in North Korea".

"She is the person he trusts more than anyone else in the regime", said Ken Gause, North Korean leadership expert.

This will be the largest Winter Games in history, with 2,800 athletes due to compete in a record 102 events, but even during the parade of nations it was not always about the competitors, as the focus of some spectators turned to President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un impersonators.

Pence repeatedly called for the North to end its nuclear ambitions and referred to the possibility that the USA could use military might to compel them to do so.

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