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South Korea's Leader May Be on Brink of Legacy-Defining Moment

12 February 2018

Moon said he would accept the summit meeting under the right conditions, suggesting Pyongyang should do more to open direct US-North Korea talks on denuclearisation.

The result mattered less than the political symbolism, however, as around 200 of North Korea's famed "army of beauties" charmed a crowd of 3,600 besotted locals with nostalgic oldies - and even broke out a Mexican wave.

Pence, who was in South Korea for the Olympics, has said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea. The two Koreas had combined teams and played simply as "Korea", wearing uniforms emblazoned with blue-and-white flags showing an undivided peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to meet with him in the North for a summit, Moon's spokesman said Saturday morning.

According to the source, Abe said at the meeting in Pyeongchang that it was necessary for North Korea to show its honest will and concrete actions for denuclearization and that it was important to conduct a U.S.

Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam arrived Friday afternoon, leading a senior delegation.

The warm North-South body language at the Games not only fanned talk of a split between Seoul and Washington, it contrasted with a cold encounter between South Korea and Japan, an ally in USA -led efforts to pressure North Korea. At left is North Korea's nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam.

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Seen by some as her brother's answer to American first daughter Ivanka Trump, Kim, 30, is not only a powerful member of Kim Jong Un's kitchen cabinet but also a foil to the perception of North Korea as antiquated and militaristic.

North Korea is calling for the exercises, which involve rehearsing attacks on the regime, to be canceled outright.

Though Moon has used the Olympics to resurrect meaningful communication with North Korea after a diplomatic stalemate over its nuclear program, he didn't immediately jump on the North Korean offer for a summit.

"Kim Jong Un is clearly serious about reviving talks with the South to improve relations", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon.

The younger Kim, who came here as a special envoy of the DPRK leader, delivered the DPRK leader's invitation for Moon to visit Pyongyang at Moon's convenient time.

"The entire world is watching us here today and expectations on both Koreas are high", Moon said.

Hours before Friday's opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, Japan's Abe warned Moon not to fall for North Korea's "smile diplomacy" during the Olympics, according to Moon's office.

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But the vice president's team saw it differently.

Of the three, the North Koreans might be the easiest sell. Communications director Jarrod Agen tweeted a laudatory review of Pence's evening: "VP stands and cheers for US athletes. VP does not applaud N. Korea or exchange pleasantries w/ the most oppressive regime on earth", he wrote.

That was not the case with Moon - either at the games, when he enthusiastically reached up to shake Kim Yo Jong's hand, or at the lunch the next day. Who knows what kind of conversation could have occurred that might have furthered the prospects for peace, but Pence avoided the opportunity. It had shown no interest so far in negotiating over demands to give up its nuclear and missile programs.

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.

The show was given by some 140 members of Pyongyang's Samjiyon Orchestra as part of a cross-border deal in which the isolated nuclear-armed North sent hundreds of athletes, cheerleaders and others to the Pyeongchang Winter Games in the South.

In that regard, Kim Jong Un has scored a victory this week.

More news: Kim Jong-un invites South Korea's President to Pyongyang (Second Lead)

South Korea's Leader May Be on Brink of Legacy-Defining Moment