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Rival Koreas march under one flag at Pyeongchang opening ceremony

12 February 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang "at an early date", South Korean officials said on Saturday, potentially setting up the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

The invitation was delivered on Saturday at a landmark meeting between Moon and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo-jong in the Presidential Palace in Seoul, Yonhap news agency reported.

In an extraordinary moment that could hardly be fathomed one month ago, North and South Korea have entered the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium together.

Kim Jong Un's sister shook the hand of the South Korean president in a show of diplomacy, as the 2018 Winter Olympics got underway in Pyeongchang.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in attend short track speed skating events at the Gangneung Ice Arena in South Korea
Rival Koreas march under one flag at Pyeongchang opening ceremony

Based on that assurance, Pence was cited as saying he felt confident he could endorse post-Olympic engagement with Pyongyang.

The unified Korean team snapped a selfie at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

The slim and fair Ms Kim, believed to be 30 years old, has been in the spotlight since arriving in the South.

"Working in unity on the way to unification", Kim Yong-nam wrote. The Koreans lost 8-0.

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The countries are still technically at war since a 1953 armistice, though they have resumed talks after a year-long standoff between North Korea and the United States in which an exchange of threats between the heads of state elevated tensions and prompted the North's continued missile and nuclear tests.

But North Korea seems to be sticking to its anti-American stance. US Vice-President Mike Pence, sitting a few seats away in the same Opening Ceremony VIP booth, looked stony faced as the scene unfolded. The US insists that North Korea has to commit to the denuclearization and be willing to talk about denuclearization before any direct talk can happen.

Mattis also said he doubted that the sporting rapprochement would undermine US-South Korean ties. The drills were delayed to ensure a smooth Olympics.

Kim's unusual invitation, which was received by Moon with both caution and optimism, was the latest sign of growing closeness between the two rival governments after an exceptionally tense period over the North's nuclear weapons program.

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But he rejected any suggestion Sunday that even a temporary warming of relations between the North and South could drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.

"Otherwise the summit will not be realised, or if it does, it will be just an empty, superficial meeting", he told The Sunday Times.

While a summit in Pyongyang would signal warming ties on the peninsula, it also risks driving a wedge in the alliance between the US and South Korea.

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Rival Koreas march under one flag at Pyeongchang opening ceremony