North Korea's Summit Offer Could Test US-South Korea's United Nuclear Front

"In the midst of all of this, he (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) ran a military parade that highlighted his ballistic missiles", Mattis told reporters on his plane en route to Rome on the first leg of a European tour.

US Vice President Mike Pence (center) between Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's ceremonial head of state, and Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister. They were a huge hit.

The delegations shared a lunch of dried pollack dumpling soup, a regional specialty of the only divided province on the Korean peninsula, and soju, a spirit popular on both sides of the heavily militarized border.

They were at speedskating, too.

Sunday's concert meeting marks the fourth time Moon and Kim Yo-jong have met since they greeted each other during the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The University of Kentucky cheer squad will represent the United States in Pyeongchang, performing at the closing ceremony and in a competition with other countries.

On Wednesday, Pence announced the "toughest" round of sanctions yet targeting North Korea at a news conference alongside Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Pence was reported to have said he reached the new understanding with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has been pushing for diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs, in two substantive conversations during his visit to South Korea. He also encouraged the North to be more proactive in seeking dialogue with the USA, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

Concerns surfaced over the possible discord between South Korea and the U.S. in its approach to North Korea as Pence, who came to South Korea on Thursday for the opening of the PyeongChang Olympics, increased United States pressure on Pyongyang by highlighting the brutality of the regime during his time here. -South Korea joint military exercises after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

President Donald Trump's administration has taken a hard line on North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programme, saying there is no room for negotiations unless Pyongyang abandons it.


"On a political level in Seoul, there is no wedge that can be driven between us by North Korea", Mattis said, echoing comments made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Invited by Moon for lunch at Seoul's presidential palace, Kim Yo Jong verbally delivered her brother's hope for a summit with Moon in Pyongyang, a meeting that she said would help significantly improve ties after an extended period of animosity.

She's not what we expected: not stiff, but smiling.

Moon gave qualified consent to holding a future summit with Kim, the first between the two Koreas since 2007. Previously, the United States had ruled out any possibility of talks with the North unless it agreed to discuss giving up its nuclear weapons.

"It is very important for South Korea to coordinate with the United States to have dialogue with the DPRK", he added.

Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from the South Korean city of Gangneung, said the meeting would be famous in history.

Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test a year ago and in November tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile that experts said has the range to reach anywhere in the United States.

Pence had travelled to the Olympics to counter what Washington said was the North's crude attempts to hijack the Games with a propaganda campaign.

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