Moon holds near 3-hour meeting with N. Korean delegates

Pic Reuters

Pic Reuters

USA vice-president briefly Mike Pence met Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's titular president, at a reception in South Korea on Friday morning (9 January) ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeonchang Winter Olympics, just 50 miles south of the border between the two Koreas.

Moon apparently cited the conditions necessary for an inter-Korean summit.

But the North was welcomed with open arms to what South Korean President Moon Jae-in called "Olympic games of peace".

The Japanese Prime Minister visited South Korea for the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics at the country's east county of PyeongChang.

She verbally conveyed Kim's invitation to Moon "to visit the North at his most convenient time", he added.

The invitation was delivered through his younger sister Kim Yo-jong who met Moon at the presidential palace.

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Pence said Friday that the US would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program.

"Special envoy Kim Yo Jong delivered a personal letter" from her brother stating his "wish to improve inter-Korean relations", said Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

On his flight to Alaska on Saturday, the vice president said he left Asia "encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea.

An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South's Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang. The North Korean orchestra will return home on Monday after their second and last performance on Sunday. Later, he skipped a formal dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that during the brief exchange with DPRK's president the UN Secretary-General underscored hopes that dialogue will lead to a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

And Pence's personal guest at the games will be Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died a year ago days after his release from captivity in North Korea.

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