South Korean President welcomes N. Korean delegation

Norway's cross-country skiing team trains Wednesday Feb. 7 2018 in advance of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Kai Pfaffenbach  Reuters

Norway's cross-country skiing team trains Wednesday Feb. 7 2018 in advance of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Kai Pfaffenbach Reuters

But US Vice President Mike Pence, who was seated in the same box at the opening ceremony, did not interact with the North Koreans at any point, US officials said.

Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S.is demanding that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un place on the table the prospect of his country giving up its nuclear weapons as a precondition for supporting any substantive talks between the two Koreas.

Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

"I appreciate you stayed late out in the cold, are you all well?"

North Korea is sending 22 athletes and a delegation of more than 400 musicians, singers, martial artists and cheering squads to the games. The American Vice-president added that in the closed-door meeting that he had with the South Korean president, Seoul acknowledges the importance of economic embargo to the North in bringing the regime into inter-Korean talks. But it is so unprecedented, and its announcement on Thursday was so sudden, that rumours are already swirling it could open the door to much more - perhaps even an offer for Moon to travel to Pyongyang, the North's capital.

The newspaper says Kim Yo Jong exchanged warm greetings with Moon and his wife.

Rather than stand nervously around Kim Jong Un on visits to official factories, she has moved to the front of media photos more recently, giggling, assisting her brother at state events or collecting flowers presented to him by young children.

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of the ruling Kim family bearing the bloodline of the sacred Mount Paektu, a centrepiece of the North's idolisation and propaganda campaign, to cross the border into the South since the 1950-53 Korean War. Pence arrived in Seoul on Thursday this week where he met with the South Korean president with both leaders agreeing to continue with their commitment to easing tensions in the volatile region.

North Korea has held a military parade in a show of strength on the eve of the Winter Olympics in South Korea. They were stopped and most were killed near the palace, which was newly rebuilt in 1991.

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Moon and Kim Yo Jong had their first face-to-face encounter at the opening ceremony.

According to the South's Unification Ministry, Kim Yong Nam was born in February 1928 in Pyongyang.

For all Pence's efforts, though, the vision of a united Korea in the opening ceremonies was a powerful one for the bundled-up attendees, who gave standing ovations for the unified Korean team that circled the stadium under one flag.

Some North Korean experts believe tough United Nations sanctions that are cutting off most of the isolated regime's sources of revenue might pressure Pyongyang to further engage with Seoul. The North also past year conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date.

It is Abe's first visit to South Korea since November 2015 and the first since Moon took office in May 2017.

Pence says the USA and South Korea are "completely aligned".

The smiles and handshakes were friendlier than some of the North's past history with the complex - in 1968 Pyongyang sent commandos to attack it to try to assassinate the South's then leader. It was built in the 1960s as a luxury facility for US troops stationed in the South.

The North's Olympic "detente" is a striking shift in tactics. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white "kimchi" or fermented cabbage.

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