Pence wrapping up Olympic visit to South Korea

Pence wrapping up Olympic visit to South Korea

Pence wrapping up Olympic visit to South Korea

Moon tried to keep both Pyongyang and Washington happy Saturday when he received the invitation, delivered by Kim Yo Jong, the North Korean leader's younger sister and close aide, during a meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

Correspondents say the invitation puts Mr Moon in a hard position as he campaigned on a promise to engage with the North, but his moves in that direction go contrary to the wishes of his ally the US.

Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea. Instead, they said, Kim simply wasn't seated in the area where Pence was receiving well-wishers. North Korea has jumped at the opportunity.

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attends the women's ice hockey preliminary round group B game between Switzerland and Korea on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

Hundreds of Twitter users in recent days have referred to "Pyongyang2018", and while some were making a dig at the presence of North Korea at the Games, in many cases it appears to have been a simple mix-up.

The Trump administration is cautious of Seoul falling for North Korea's charm offensive during the Winter Olympics, which are taking place amid tension over Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

In a stark illustration of his efforts to pull in Pyongyang without pushing away Washington, Moon watched short-track speedskating with Vice President Mike Pence at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Saturday night. About 800 conservative protesters gathered in central Seoul to tear up photos of Kim Jong Un and condemn Moon for being too soft on North Korea.

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"I am very confident, as President Trump is, that President Moon will continue to stand strongly with us in our extreme-pressure campaign", Pence told NBC in an interview, maintaining all options were open to deal with the crisis.

As it turned out, with the two Koreas celebrating a moment of unity, the United States was left outmaneuvered by an adversary and out of step with an ally.

Vice President Mike Pence did not deliberately snub North Koreans at an Olympic reception, according to United States officials who pushed back on South Korean reports that Pence deliberately came late to a VIP gathering Friday evening and then snubbed officials from Pyongyang.

Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test a year ago and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States.

It was the first time a member of the ruling family ever visited the presidential palace, called the Blue House.

Pence spent the days leading up to the games warning that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games" with its "propaganda".

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