South, North Korean Athletes March Together at Olympic Opening Ceremony

Unified Korea's flagbearers lead a delegation from North and South Korea during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Unified Korea's flagbearers lead a delegation from North and South Korea during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has declared the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics open during a ceremony Friday that featured the rival Koreas joining hands and marching together.

On Thursday, the two men met at the prime minister's home in Japan.

Sources say it was noteworthy that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un didn't mention the word "nuclear" during his speech, instead choosing to refer to his country as having "developed into a world class military power".

The joint march resulted from monthlong negotiations between the two countries and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the North's last-minute decision to participate in the games. Other countries followed in alphabetical order, based the Korean alphabet.

Earlier on Friday, Mr Pence said Mr Moon gave his backing to additional measures the United States is planning to try to curb North Korea's missile and nuclear programmes, speaking after paying tribute at a South Korean memorial.

Moon, on the other hand, has repeatedly stressed the need to keep the inter-Korean dialogue moving forward, so they may lead to a resumption of global negotiations on ending the North's nuclear ambitions. Ladies and gentlemen: Welcome to the Olympic Winter Games, Pyeongchang 2018!

And second, United States and North Korean officials this high up the food chain rarely if ever get this close to one another - let alone in the midst of a tense nuclear standoff of the kind we've seen over the past several months.

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There was no sign of Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of the North's leader Kim Jong Un, who is part of Pyongyang's delegation.

The sister of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, shook hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in - and appeared genuinely pleased - while they watched an elaborate show of light, sound and human performance.

During his meeting with the four defectors, including some who had been tortured and abused by the North, Pence warned that the world would see "a charm offensive by North Korea" on Friday.

Seating plans shown on television had Pence seated directly opposite the North's Kim Yong Nam at the reception in Pyeongchang.

The invitation for Moon to go north could be made at a scheduled welcome luncheon on Saturday, several diplomatic sources with deep knowledge of North Korea's intentions told CNN.

"We have never begged for dialogue with the USA and will be the same in the future", Cho Yong-sam, a senior official at the North's foreign ministry, was quoted as saying by the communist state's official Korean Central News Agency.

Kim, who spoke to the large audience, comprised of the highest military personnel, talked about strategic defenses against the "imperialist" U.S and its allies in the Pacific such as Japan and South Korea.

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