North Korea's Kim invites S Korean leader to Pyongyang

Volunteers walk beside the Olympic rings at the Alpensia resort for the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang South Korea

Kim Yo Jong and her delegation spent three days dining with top government officials, including Moon, watching the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and cheering for the united women's ice hockey team the two Koreas have fielded at this Olympics.

The North Korean delegation arrived in the South on Kim's private plane on Friday via Incheon global airport to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyongchang Winter Olympics where Seoul and Pyongyang are represented by joint teams.

Rome: US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis cast doubt Sunday on whether North Korea's charm offensive at the Winter Olympics would lead to a lasting rapprochement between Pyongyang and Seoul.

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.

They were whisked back and forth between Seoul and the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung.

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

"We would like to see you at an early date in Pyongyang", Kim Yo Jong told Moon during the lunch, according to another Blue House official.

The invitation came during talks and a lunch Moon hosted with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the North Korean leader, at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

Mattis also said he doubted that the sporting rapprochement would undermine US-South Korean ties.

"Moon is saying that although he is keen to reboot inter-Korean relations, the dialogue between the United States and the North is essential. Moon should be aware that he has to urge denuclearisation to North Korea by himself, not depending on dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea". He also called for the need of a quick resumption of dialogue between North Korea and the United States.

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The officials say she responded that she was fine thanks to the president's caring arrangement. Such a meeting, if it came about, would mark the first inter-Korea summit since 2007.

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Analysts say Kim Jong Un's decision to send his sister to the South reflected an eagerness to break out of diplomatic isolation by improving ties with the South, which the country could eventually use as a bridge to approach the United States.

But the agreement made little headway after the North carried out a series of nuclear and missile tests, and after conservative presidents took office in the South, adopting a harder line on Pyongyang.

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

If he accepts the invite, it would be the first time leaders of the two Koreas have met since 2007. Previously, the USA had ruled out any possibility of talks with the North unless it agreed to discuss giving up its nuclear weapons.

Moon has always expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea.

"The fate of our nation must be determined by our own selves - we must not allow the repeat of unfortunate past history where our fate was determined with no regard to our opinions", Moon said in a speech to South Korean lawmakers in November.

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

South Korea may also need to persuade traditional allies the United States and Japan, which have raised concerns that the North is attempting to use its outreach as a release valve for worldwide pressure.

This story has been corrected to show that the North Korean delegation stayed at the Walkerhill, not Wakerhill, hotel.

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