Koreas share historic handshake at Olympic opening ceremony

People can visit the North Korean submarine that was stranded in South Korean waters in 1996

Pence, who will lead the US delegation to the opening ceremonies Friday evening, met Thursday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to press for a more clear-eyed approach toward the nuclear-armed neighbour to the north. Moon has looked at the games as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with North Korea - a move the vice-president cautioned against.

Moon and Kim Yo Jong had their first face-to-face encounter at the opening ceremony.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's office says his lunch meeting with senior North Korean officials including leader Kim Jong Un's sister has ended.

The officials say she responded that she was fine thanks to the president's caring arrangement.

Kim Yo-jong held a blue document folder when she arrived at Cheong Wa Dae for her meeting with Moon, prompting speculation that she may have been carrying a letter from the North Korean leader.

Athletes from South Korea and the DPRK had marched together for the first time at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Summer Olympics in 2000.

Rather than stand nervously around Kim Jong Un on visits to official factories, she has moved to the front of media photos more recently, giggling, assisting her brother at state events or collecting flowers presented to him by young children.

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics marks the 10th marching together of the two Koreas under a unified flag at the opening ceremony of an worldwide sports competition.

"Although many Koreans are welcoming North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are also significant criticism and concerns both domestically and internationally", the statement said.

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Pence's comments suggested that the administration of President Donald Trump, which has mostly taken a hard line over any potential engagement with North Korea, might be looking more favorably at diplomatic options. South Korea's presidential Blue House also had no immediate comment.

Such a meeting, if it came about, would mark the first inter-Korea summit since 2007.

The two Koreas, which remain technically at war, have cycled through countless periods of chill and thaw since their division 70 years ago.

The Unification Ministry said steps regarding the improvement of ties would be led by the two Koreas, but also in cooperation with related countries and the support of the global community.

It was not immediately known what they said, but all of them were smiling.

"If there is certain progress to set the conditions for denuclearisation, a full-fledged progress in inter-Korean relations will become possible", it said, without elaborating.

The U.S. -led worldwide community has been tightening the screws on North Korea with sanctions created to punish its economy and rein in its efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and missile program, which now includes developmental long-range missiles targeting the U.S. mainland.

Seoul made a standing offer to North Korea previous year regarding another such reunion, details of which have yet to be hammered out between North and South Korea. Kim is an honorary ambassador of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Olympics women's figure skating gold medalist.

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