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US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea

12 February 2018

"We surely have to win competitions but I mean attending the Olympics has a significant meaning", the North's Alpine coach, Pyon Yong Do, said after a meeting of coaches on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the two Koreas marched together and South Korea's President shared a historic handshake with Kim Jong Un's sister as the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opened in a spirit of intense rapprochement on Friday.

Global alarm at the rapid advance of nuclear-armed North Korea's weapons technology rose further past year when the regime tested its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile theoretically capable of hitting the mainland USA, in a challenge to Washington that has threatened to "utterly destroy" the regime in the event of an attack.

But the prospect could sow division between the dovish leader, who has long argued for engagement with the nuclear-armed North to bring it to the negotiating table, and US President Donald Trump, who previous year traded personal insults and threats of war with Kim.

But Moon has also said that he would be willing to meet Kim only if he received assurances that the North would help resolve the crisis over its nuclear weapons program. He insisted on Saturday that the U.S., South Korea and Japan were united in their goal of isolating North Korea over the country's nuclear weapons program.

North Korea did prove it was capable of a charm offensive, a stark contrast from the past year when Kim Jong Un and President Trump have traded insults and dire threats.

More news: Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for talks in the North

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programme a year ago and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

The personal invitation from Kim was delivered by his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, during talks and a lunch Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

The conservative Dong-A Ilbo warned that South Korea may lose the trust of the United States and Japan as it courts North Korea for talks, and that the North, knowing that Seoul and Washington plan to resume war games in March, "may deploy a strategy of using the Moon Jae-in government as a shield from the United States".

A senior administration official said Moon did express to the vice president that he hoped there could be some potential interaction between Pence and the North Korean delegations during the games - something that did not occur. Openly gay American freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy took a swipe at Pence in an Instagram post, posing with fellow openly gay figure skater Adam Rippon.

"We are now witnessing how powerful sports can be to promote peace and conciliation and friendship", former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who spoke before the demonstration began, said.

The invitation was issued through Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, who was attending the Games with the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam.

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The white aircraft had the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name, inscribed in black in Korean on its side, followed by the North Korean flag.

At the opening ceremony for the Games, Mr Pence, Kim Yo-jong and Kim Yong-nam were seated in close proximity to each other.

Decked out in red tracksuits and woolly hats, North Korea's cheerleaders sang "uri nun, hana da" (we are one) and clapped in ideal unison as local hip hop artists rapped on a stage behind them and K-Pop blared over the loudspeakers in a stark clash of cultures. -South Korea military exercises. "We wanted the North Koreans to see the vice president, Abe and Moon sitting directly in front of them for the opening ceremonies, and it would show that that alliance is strong".

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

"If we are unified with North Korea, I would think about emigrating to another country", said Lim, who visited the beach with her husband, Kang Il-Han, for a vacation.

More news: North Korea stages show of force with new missiles during parade

US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea