Seoul seeks communication, lower military tension ahead of possible North Korea summit

Pence wrapping up Olympic visit to South Korea

Speaking to the Washington Post aboard Air Force Two on his way home from the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Pence - who avoided any direct contact with North Korean officials attending the Games - said Washington would keep up its "maximum pressure campaign" against Pyongyang but would be open to possible talks at the same time.

"Always stay healthy. Make sure you visit Pyongyang with President Moon", Kim Yo Jong said to first lady Kim Jung-sook after the concert, according to pool notes from South Korea's Blue House.

Bach had South Korea's Moon on his left and the high-level North Korean delegation on his right when the two Koreas played their first ever Olympic fixture together, in the women's ice hockey tournament on Saturday.

Civilian contact is strictly banned between the two Koreas, which have been divided since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

Despite the mutual chilliness between US and North Korean officials in South Korea last week, behind the scenes real progress was made toward a new diplomatic opening that could result in direct talks without preconditions between Washington and Pyongyang.

"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization", Pence was quoted on Sunday as saying.

"The proposal, as well as North Korea's presence at the games, sends a signal that the North Koreans are ready to talk", Lankov said. She also delivered a letter inviting Moon to a summit with her brother in Pyongyang, and asked him to play a "leading role" in reuniting the two Koreas after almost seven decades.

"I never expected to come here on such short notice to be honest, and I thought it would be odd and different but it's not", Ms Kim said at a dinner last night before heading home.

The unified Korean women's hockey team - the first unified Korean team in the Olympics - faced Switzerland in a well-fought, but ultimately defeated, match.

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

Based on that assurance, Pence told Rogin he felt confident he could endorse post-Olympic engagement with the North.

Many older South Koreans on both sides of the political divide harbor a nostalgic longing for some form of reunification - conservatives through the North's collapse, liberals through a more amicable arrangement.

This came as U.S. State Department spokesman Michael Cavey on Sunday said Washington supports South Korea's efforts to procure dialogue between the U.S. and the North. "Here's to hoping that we could see the pleasant people (of the South) again in Pyeongchang and bring closer the future where we are one again".

North Korea's cheerleaders at the Winter Olympics.

Kim Yo-jong is widely regarded as one of her brother's top confidantes and senior officials in the North Korean Government.

Pence told Moon the global community must not repeat the mistakes of the past by giving North Korea concessions in exchange for talking.

"Considering the North Korean system and culture, it is impossible to use Kim Il-sung's face - which is held in the highest dignity - for cheering for their team", said Back Hye-ryun, a spokesperson for the ruling Democratic Party. "A unified Korea" was their shout of concentration, the pool report said.

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