Mike Pence didn't snub North Koreans deliberately, officials say

The invitation was delivered by Kim’s sister Kim Jo Yong during a Saturday meeting at Moon’s presidential compound in Seoul a day after the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics in South Korea

Kim Yo-jong was earlier considered part of a high-level North Korean delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, but Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said she was here as a special envoy of the North Korean leader.

The two North Koreans are on a landmark visit to the South amid a flurry of abrupt reconciliation steps, and both attended the opening ceremony before having a luncheon with Moon at Moon's presidential palace earlier Saturday.

The meeting is set to come at a time when the USA government under the leadership of President Donald Trump is preparing to continue the policy of maximum pressure against North Korea by imposing more economic sanctions to the repressive regime of Kim Jong Un.

In barely a month since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surprised the world and said his nation was ready to join the Games, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has delayed military exercises, feted Kim's sister at the Pyeongchang Olympics and given conditional consent to a bilateral summit in the North.

She said her brother would like to meet Moon "in the near future and would like to ask President Moon to visit North Korea at his earliest convenience", according to the Blue House.

Throughout the ceremony there were constant winks to peace, such as the theme "Imagine" by John Lennon, an ode to coexistence, sung by four well-known South Korean singers.

On his flight to Alaska on Saturday, the vice president said he left Asia "encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea.

"(President Moon) said a lot of nice things", said goalie Shin So-jung after the game.

Moon responded by saying he hopes the right environment will be created so the meeting between the two leaders could occur, an apparent reference to demands by the US and other allies that the North abandon its nuclear weapons program.

At the the Olympics' opening ceremony on Friday night, Kim Yo Jong sat behind Moon (and Pence) - but Saturday night, she and Kim Yong Nam sat next to Moon and IOC President Thomas Bach as they watched the unified Korean women's hockey team play their historic first game.

During their meeting President Moon was pictured smiling and shaking hands with Kim Yo Jong.

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Pence and Moon were expected to view men's short-track speedskating together prior to the women's event, as an American and a Korean were competing against each other, but Moon kept Pence waiting and missed the event entirely.

Pence said he would seek to counter North Korea's attempt to use the Olympics for propaganda and invited the father of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died previous year after being imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, to the Games in Pyeongchang.

"North Korea is skilfully driving a wedge between the US, Japan and South Korea".

Moon's office said he told Abe that the talks between the Koreas would not disrupt worldwide efforts to deal with North Korea's nuclear program.

In a rare honor for visiting foreign guests, Moon met Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, four times during the delegation's three-day visit.

Another shot, posted to Instagram, shows figure skaters South Korea's Kam Alex Kang-chan and North Korea's Kim Ju Sik grinning for a selfie and throwing up the peace sign.

The warm North-South body language not only fanned talk of a split between Seoul and Washington, it contrasted with a cold encounter between South Korea and Japan, an ally in US-led efforts to pressure North Korea to end its nuclear programme.

North Korea's state media also sharply criticized Pence.

"What can not be overlooked is that Moon did not directly demand North Korea to abandon its nuclear development".

Yesterday, Kim's sister was photographed at the Winter Olympics sitting just rows behind US Vice President Mike Pence.

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