Sunday, 22 April, 2018

Kim Yo-jong meets South Korean president in Seoul as thaw continues

Diplomacy under microscope as ‘peace’ Games get underway North Korea's Kim invites South Korean president for summit - South Korea
Steve Townsend | 11 February, 2018, 05:18

Kim Yo Jong, who is thought to be about 30 years old, entered the meeting with the president carrying a blue folder with the North Korean crest embossed in gold on the front, which she carefully laid on the table in front of her.

Pence and the North Koreans have been an awkward presence at the Games to say the least.

The growing number of apparently unintentional references to Pyongyang irked at least one Twitter user in Washington, DC, who tweeted: "The number of people mistakenly using #Pyongyang2018 to tweet about #PyeongChang2018 is not that surprising but nevertheless upsetting".

Moon has been pressing the North to engage with the United States to de-escalate tensions between the countries, which have been fueled by a string of nuclear tests that were met with strong rhetoric from President Donald Trump.

Indeed, some spectators at Saturday's game were skeptical that bringing the two countries together on one team would have any lasting effect. As a sign of her status, the elder Kim Yong Nam offered her the seat of honor at the airport meeting, but she politely declined.

According to Business Insider's David Choi, a series of servers went down during the festivities and took the PyeongChang 2018 website and some internet-connected TVs at the press center with them.

Earlier Friday, Warmbier and Pence met with a group of North Korean defectors, and Pence warned about a possible North Korean "charm offensive" during the games. The attack on the ship, Cheonan, killed 46 South Korean sailors.

"What the president said exactly is let's create the right circumstances to make it happen", Yoon said in a statement.

Kim Yo Jong told Moon that relations would improve quickly once he meets with her brother.

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However, the road to US-North Korea talks is unlikely to be easy.

North Korea continues to defy increasingly tough sanctions, and states at every opportunity that its nuclear weapons program is nonnegotiable.

The discussions from Saturday's meeting weren't immediately released.

Kim Yo Jong, 28, is the first member of the ruling Kim family bearing the bloodline of the sacred Mount Paektu, a centerpiece of the North's idolization and propaganda campaign, to cross the border into the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Two players, one South Korean and the other North Korean, appeared on the opening ceremony and climbed stairs together with the Olympic torch that they handed to Olympic champion figure skater Yuna Kim.

Her muted style stands in stark contrast to Kim Jong Un, whose eccentric style and fiery rhetoric has shaped the image of North Korea.

Some local media have gone as far as to describe the meeting as "effectively an inter-Korean summit". North Korea, which has been playing in world championships since 1999, is ranked just three spots below the South.

Moon, however, dismissed the proposal, saying it is a matter of his country's sovereignty, the office added.

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