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Could a North Korean athlete defect to South Korea during the Olympics?

12 February 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's office says his lunch meeting with senior North Korean officials including leader Kim Jong Un's sister has ended.

South Korean officials have said Moon was invited to Pyongyang to speak with Kim Jong Un during the talks and lunch that Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Saturday.

This isn't the first time that the North Korean team has missed out on free devices from long-time Olympics sponsor Samsung.

Moon has been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

North Korean player Jong, who had one of the team's eight shots on the night, said she would like to see a unified team continue after the Olympics.

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As the fans sang and bopped to the rhythms of rap, rock and pop played over stadium speakers, the North's cheerleaders countered with a North Korean pop song that was popular a decade ago, the last time the two Koreas were trying to make peace.

President Trump's right-hand man was at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday night to watch the opening session of short-track speedskating and, for the second evening in succession, he was unable to avoid a connection to North Korea.

The development extends a thaw in cross-border relations that saw the two Koreas' athletes march together under a unified flag at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Her visit amounted to a charm offensive created to counter the US narrative that Kim Jong Un is a madman who tortures his own people and would blow up Los Angeles or New York City if he didn't get his way. He supported Pence's moves to meet with North Korean defectors, paying respects at a memorial to the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack blamed on the North. Pence also invited as his Olympics guest the father of USA college student Otto Warmbier, who died after he was imprisoned by North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster.

Taekwondo athletes from North and South Korea produced a stunning demonstration in Gangwon as sporting diplomacy took centre stage alongside kicking, screaming and flying planks of wood on Saturday.

Pence said Friday that the USA would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program, and he was silent Saturday on the news of the invitation.

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

But North Korea's bad record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white "kimchi" or fermented cabbage. Pyongyang refused to attend the 1988 Games and called for an global boycott, one that was albeit ignored by its Communist patrons in Beijing and Moscow.

And while Trump's unpredictable nature is likely prove a challenge going forward, Oba said the US leader's capriciousness could in the end prove to be a blessing.

"It was a really smart move for the North Koreans to go ahead and propose a big summit between Kim and Moon", said Mintaro Oba, a former State Department official who worked on North Korean issues. -South Korea military exercises. The North has also sent a several hundred women-strong cheering squad, an orchestra with singers and dancers and a demonstration taekwondo team that will perform in Seoul and places near the Olympic venues.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults and threats of nuclear war as tensions rose, with Trump repeatedly dismissing the prospect or value of talks with North Korea.

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Could a North Korean athlete defect to South Korea during the Olympics?