Pence prods South Korean to be hard-liner on North

North Korea had a military parade on the eve of the Olympic Games

North Korea had a military parade on the eve of the Olympic Games

South Korean officials have said Moon was invited to Pyongyang to speak with Jong Un during the talks and lunch that Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Saturday.

Pence said Friday that the US would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program.

Athletes from South Korea and the DPRK also marched together under a unified Korean flag at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics on Friday night, marking the first walking together in 11 years of the two countries' athletes under the same flag at the opening ceremony of an global sports event.

"Special envoy Kim Yo Jong delivered a personal letter" from her brother stating his "wish to improve inter-Korean relations", said Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is famously reclusive.

"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program", Pence told reporters aboard a flight back to the U.S.

Choi Jiyeon (C) of the unified team of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korea drives the puck during their preliminary match of women's ice hockey against Switerland at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, South Korea, on February 10, 2018. Pence carried a similar message during his trip to Japan and South Korea.

The Games are taking place 50 miles from the border with North Korea.


Almost 500 North Koreans are participating in the Olympics, which run through to Feb 25, including a cheering squad, art troupe and taekwondo demonstration team, the South's Unification Ministry said.

Following the meeting, Pence press secretary Alyssa Farah said in a statement, "The Vice President is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions".

"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 denuclearisation", he said.

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

At a Friday VIP reception for delegation leaders, Pence arrived late and stayed for just five minutes - and did not interact with the delegation from the North.

At a glittering but sub-zero ceremony, South and North Korea brought the crowd to its feet as they entered behind the blue-and-white Korean unification flag.

It has been more than 70 years since the Korean War, but some South Koreans believe they have remained the regime's main target. Later, he skipped a formal dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam.

Asked about criticism that Pence stood and cheered only for Team USA and stayed seated when the North and South Koreans marched in under a unified flag, the official was unapologetic.

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