Mike Pence didn't snub North Koreans deliberately, officials say

Lindsey Vonn

Lindsey Vonn of the United States shows the gold medal she won in the women's downhill at the 2010 Olympics. Luca Bruno | AP 2010

The real Kim Jong Un did not travel to South Korea for the games, either.

Relations between the two Koreas are apparently improving after North Korea chose to join the Pyeongchang Olympics that began Friday, but Pyongyang has so far shown no sign of abandoning its missile and nuclear development programs.

In an article titled "Shameful behavior using sacred Olympics for confrontational schemes", the ruling party's Rodong Sinmun daily accused Pence of "snobbishly" asking South Korea to arrange the Olympic events so that he wouldn't run into North Korean delegates.

The United Nations allowed the North Korean delegation to travel to South Korea for the Olympics, granting an exemption on sanctions against the repressive regime.

The officials, who spoke on condition because they were not authorized to discuss the USA approach publicly, also denied that Pence had been blindsided by the seating arrangement - with the North Koreans in the row behind him, allowing Kim Yo Jong to be easily pictured in profile next to the vice president.

The pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremony officially kicked off the 2018 Winter Olympics Friday.

She is the first immediate family member of North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung to ever set foot in the South.

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Moon sees the Olympics as an opportunity to restore meaningful communication with North Korea after an extended diplomatic stalemate over its nuclear ambitions. However, she and Pence did not shake hands despite sitting only seats away from each other. A North Korean art troupe also performed in Gangneung on February 8 2018 and will perform in Seoul on February 11 2018 before heading back home.

Kim Jong Un and President Trump impersonators were booted from the Olympic Games' opening ceremony.

Pence also avoided encountering Kim Young-nam on Friday during a reception dinner hosted by Moon ahead of the opening ceremony, underscoring chilly relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is also in Pyeongchang for the opening ceremony.

Led by Kim Yong-nam, the North's nominal head of state, the delegation that arrived at Cheong Wa Dae at 11 a.m.is the highest level group to be hosted by Seoul's presidential office.

"An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", he said, according to his spokesman.

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