S. Korean president declares 2018 Winter Olympic Games open

DPRK delegates meet with S. Korean president at Blue House

President Thomas Bach plans to visit North Korea after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, cementing ties with the reclusive state which used the event to restart political dialogue with South Korea.

She was the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South, while Kim Yong-nam was the most senior North Korean official to make a cross-border trip.

"Let us promote mutual conciliation and harmony through the power of sport".

The historic handshake was preceded by a string of events which raises speculations over the growing bonhomie between the two divided Koreas, despite the two nations being technically engaged in war.

Eager to put a reality check on the thaw in relations between the two Koreas in advance of the games, Pence met with North Korean defectors Friday and paid respects at the Cheonan Memorial in Pyeongtaek, which honors the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack attributed to the North.

"I think this overture towards South Korea is partly sanctions-related, and also related to the fact that it's clear a divergence has developed between Washington and Seoul's most keenly desired goals in the near term", said Andray Abrahamian, a research fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS in Hawaii. For his part, Abe said that Japan and the United States had "confirmed... that we can never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea". In January 1968, Kim Yo Jong's grandfather, founding North Korean president Kim Il Sung, sent a squad of North Korean commandos to Seoul who tried unsuccessfully to kill then-president Park Chung-hee.

South and North Koreans marched together under a unified flag at the games' opening ceremony.

The North Korean representative invited Moon to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, for talks on behalf of her brother.

The meetings between North and South continue Saturday when President Moon holds a luncheon with the North Korean delegation.

Earlier on Friday, Pence said Moon gave his backing to additional measures the United States is planning to try to curb North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, speaking after paying tribute at a South Korean memorial.

A visit by Moon to the North would be only the third inter-Korean summit to take place.

After President Trump himself was compared to a North Korean dictator this week for proposing a "military parade", an idea that was floated by Chuck Schumer in 2014, it appears that the left is getting increasingly desperate to paint him in a negative light. Pence was also at the dinner and reportedly refused to shake the elderly North Korean's hand.

"Our resolve to stand with you is unshakable", Pence said, adding the U.S.

According to a diplomatic source, some in the Abe administration "would not oppose the very idea of talks" between Moon and Kim "if they would entail (Moon) pressing North Korea to denuclearize". The group is fringe, but their demonstrations have generated irate reactions in North Korea's state-run media.

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