North Korea had frank, candid talks with South's president: KCNA

(News Focus) NK summit offer heralds strides in inter-Korean ties but nuclear impasse clouds prospects

(News Focus) NK summit offer heralds strides in inter-Korean ties but nuclear impasse clouds prospects

Both Kim Yong Nam and Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, also sat in Moon's box.

Moon was heard asking the visiting delegation "I appreciate you stayed late out in the cold, are you all well?" before the talks proceeded behind closed doors.

South Korea accepted North Korea's demand to transport more than 100 art troupe members by sea, using the Mangyongbong-92 ferryboat as an exception to the maritime sanctions it imposed on the North, which is a controversial move amid concerns that the North is trying to use the Olympics to squirm out of global sanctions. After Kim arrived at Incheon Airport and met with the Korean unification minister, Kim Yong Nam gestured for her to take the center seat at the table - leading many South Korean news outlets to conclude that she's essentially her brother's second in command.

On the flight home from his Asian-Pacific trip flying somewhere over South Korea, Pence told reporters aboard Air Force Two that he appreciated Moon's transparency and perspective on North Korea, but reiterated that the US and South Korea will "continue to stand strong and to work in a coordinated way to bring maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea".

The IOC first urged North and South Korean sports officials to meet in 1963, a time when East and West Germany had created a joint Olympic squad. "Moon should be aware that he has to urge denuclearisation to North Korea by himself, not depending on dialogue between the USA and North Korea", an editorial in the Yomiuri Newspaper read.

The smiles and handshakes at the meeting were friendlier than some of the North's past history with the complex - in 1968 it sent commandos to attack it to try to assassinate the South's then leader.

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And while US Vice-President Mike Pence sought to put on a united front, government sources noted how he had asked Mr Abe to ride with him to a reception so they could discuss how to react to the two Koreas' rapproachement.

"There's been a temporary truce that has not extended to the propaganda competition between the United States and North Korea", said Scott Snyder, senior fellow for Korea studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Moon has always expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea. "I clearly said so to President Moon", he said.

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 worldwide negotiations on ending the North's nuclear ambitions.

But analysts say it may be more hard for the South to arrange a summit with the North coming off a year in which Pyongyang test-fired dozens of missiles, including three ICBMs, and conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date.

"We should firmly keep in mind any talks where denuclearisation is not a precondition only buy North Korea more time to complete its nuclear capabilities while they fool us with their peace offensive façade", said Chang Je-won, spokesman for the Liberty Korea Party.

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