North Korea cheerleaders making quite an impression at Winter Olympics

REUTERS  Kim Hong-Ji

Meanwhile, the two Koreas marched together and South Korea's President shared a historic handshake with Kim Jong Un's sister as the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opened in a spirit of intense rapprochement on Friday.

Shortly after North Korea invited the South Korean leader, Pence's office issued a statement.

The official newspaper of the Workers' Party was referring to the North Korean delegation's three-day visit to the South to attend the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. "We wanted the North Koreans to see the vice president, Abe and Moon sitting directly in front of them for the opening ceremonies, and it would show that that alliance is strong".

The North Koreans - Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo jong - were also in the box, seated in a row behind Pence.

But away from the spotlight, these two unwanted guests, men dressed as North Korea supreme leader and the U.S. president, were escorted away from the premises.

Babilina Hwang, a visiting professor at Georgetown, told CNN that "Kim Yo Jong is the ideal counterpart to (Ivanka Trump)".

"We need all United Nations member states to strictly enforce Security Council resolutions and raise pressure to the maximum degree until North Korea (agrees to) change its policies and comes to us seeking dialogue", he said.

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But conservatives in the South are furious at the initiative, accusing President Moon Jae-in of being a North Korean sympathiser. Others chanted 'Let's tear Kim Jong-un to death!' while tearing up a picture of the North Korean leader.

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The visit included an invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to travel to Pyongyang for talks.

However, South Korea's presidential Blue House said Pence had a meeting scheduled with US athletes and had only planned to stay briefly to greet other officials.

"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.

According to Pence's office, there was "no interaction" between the USA vice president and the North Korean officials.

He added his hope that it becomes "a venue that leads to dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". "It is valued in Korea as it is valued everywhere where we struggle to try to address the many complex conflicts that we are facing", he said. "An early resumption of dialogue between the U.S. and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", he said, according to his spokesman.

To recap, the President sent the Vice President to a football game featuring the 49ers, a team that would definitely be protesting during the anthem, and then launched a plan to literally grandstand (there were bleachers and everything) with a huffy exit.

Sources told CNN that sending ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and Kim's sibling reads as more of a symbolic act than any concrete diplomatic initiative by North Korea.

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