VP Pence makes news at the Olympics

Kim Yo Jong center sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives at Incheon International Airport in South Korea on Friday February 9. Kim is part of a high-level North Korean delegation attending the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics. She's the fir

The handshake between the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in was highlighted as Games organisers reflected on the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

"The North Koreans should understand that for a summit or any kind of serious talks to occur, Moon needs to be able to take something to Washington - something that addresses denuclearization", he said before the North's invitation to Moon was announced.

Ms Kim and the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam made up the most senior delegation from the North to visit the South since the Korean War in the 1950s.

And while the unified Korean Olympic team received a standing ovation as they marched into the stadium Friday night, Pence remained seated, which critics said was disrespectful of the athletes and his host, Moon.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Pence said Mr Moon gave his backing to additional measures the United States is planning to try to curb North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes.

For Pence's supporters, "I think the hard-line wing of the United States thinks he did a fine job", said David C. Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California.

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The researcher said these include the 1987 bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 that killed all 115 people on board, and various assassination attempts targeting former South Korean Presidents Park Chung-hee and Chun Doo-hwan.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from U.S. aggression.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, at a joint press conference with Abe in Tokyo following their bilateral talks on Wednesday, said Pyongyang is "the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet".

It took some doing to get to this point, even after North Korea agreed at the last minute to send athletes to the Winter Olympics. It figured to be because no matter which side of the border they were representing, Korean hockey players simply aren't ready to compete on such a big world stage.

In 1996 a North Korean submarine on a spying mission ran aground off the eastern South Korean port of Gangneung, sparking 45-day manhunt that ended with 24 crew members and infiltrators killed. South Korea time, or at 2 p.m., a Seoul government source told Yonhap. During his visit to South Korea, where he led the American Olympic delegation, Pence has criticized North Korea's Olympic cooperation as a propaganda campaign to improve its image and weaken global support for sanctions.

Moon oversaw Seoul's preparations for the 2007 inter-Korean summit talks, only the second-ever such leadership confab, between Roh and Kim Jong Il, the late father of Kim Jong Un.

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Looking on from the dignitaries box: South Korean president Moon Jae-in and, three seats away, Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea is likely advancing its own strategic interests by playing into Moon's vision of a peaceful Korean Peninsula.

In a poll conducted by the Korean Society Opinion Institute of 1,014 adults last week, 53 percent of respondents said they believe the Pyeongchang Olympics will not improve relations between the two Koreas.

Lookalikes of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, who caused a stir at Friday's Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony, have thanked organisers for their tender loving care.

Pence reportedly avoided contact with the North Korean delegation.

Moon's visit is highly possible, if South Korea and the United States downscale their military exercises, while DPRK agrees to freeze its nuclear program and stop testing missiles, he added.

Pence rode to the reception with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the two held a private conversation while waiting more than 10 minutes for a photo opportunity with Moon.

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

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