United Nations chief calls for denuclearization during brief talk with N.Korean official

North Korea military parade

North Korea military parade

And in another historic moment Friday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, as they prepared to view the opening ceremony.

At the Olympic Stadium's VIP box, Kim Yo Jong and North Korea's nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, took their place among dignitaries from around the world, including USA vice president Mike Pence who sat just a few feet away and seemed to make an effort not to acknowledge them.

The Pences did not stand for the unified Korean team's entrance.

The IOC stepped in late on Thursday to say athletes from both countries would receive the phones, but that the North Koreans would be asked not to take the devices home.

The Olympics have provided some respite from years of tense relations between Seoul and Pyongyang, though just hours before the ceremony hundreds of anti-North Korean protesters scuffled with riot police outside the stadium, burning North Korean flags and pictures of its leader, Kim Jong-un.

The delegation was due to take a high-speed train to Pyeongchang, where the Olympics opening ceremony would be held later Friday, and attended by the USA vice-president, Mike Pence, and the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

"The Koreans will think it's a mood kill", said Frank Jannuzi, an expert on East Asia at the Mansfield Foundation in Washington.

Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon "at an early date", a spokesman for the Blue House said.

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But North Korea has a habit of not letting itself be ignored when it comes to its southern rival. And, you know, President Moon, has appreciated that. "It's a time to focus on messages of reconciliation and peace".

Tensions between the two countries are high, but the unity amongst the athletes "offered hope for peace", according to the New York Times.

The U.N. committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea has proposed granting an exemption for Choe, who has been on the U.N. sanctions blacklist since last June. The last inter-Korean summit was in 2007.

Although the United States and North Korea have been hurling threats at one another since Donald Trump stepped into office, South Korea remains a strong ally for the U.S.

Pence has meant to use his trip to the Olympics to caution the South against "falling for" the North's overtures, which in the past have been used as stall tactics to allow for continued development of its nuclear program. North Korea has jumped at the opportunity.

Some North Korean experts believe tough United Nations sanctions that are cutting off most of the isolated North's sources of revenue have added pressure on Pyongyang to engage further with Seoul.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also attended the Games opening ceremony but had no contact with the North Korean delegation.

"It's not a complete disaster", said James Schoff, former senior Pentagon adviser for East Asia policy. It chose Hyon Song Wol, leader of the North's popular Moranbong girl band, to lead a cultural delegation it sent to South Korea for the Olympics.

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