South Korea president meets Kim Jong-un's sister, other officials

In cold, poor South Korean mountains, Winter Olympics begin

With extraordinary political optics, Winter Olympics begin

"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.

Pyongyang has ruled out a meeting with the United States delegation during the Winter Games.

Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan later explained that the US vice president was originally scheduled to hold separate dinner with USA athletes at the PyeongChang Olympic Games, insisting his early departure did not mean a boycott. The South Koreans want to use the Olympics to ease tensions spurred by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

And while this seemed far fetched, there was an olive branch of sorts extended to North Korea with leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, making an unprecedented visit to the South. The Pences, seated next to Moon and just a row ahead of Kim and the North's 90-year-old nominal head of state, remained in their seats, unsmiling.

They do so with as much focus on the North, which has zero real medal contenders, as the South, which in the three decades since its last Olympics has built a solid winter program as it went from economic backwater and military dictatorship to Asia's fourth-biggest economy and a bulwark of liberal democracy.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday said that representatives of the two Koreas shaking hands at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics was a "historic moment".

A South Korean government official said tens of thousands of people participated or watched the parade Thursday morning in Pyongyang.

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A visit by Moon to the North would be only the third inter-Korean summit to take place.

This was not supposed to be, as some in Seoul grumble, the "Pyongyang Games", a play on the North Korean capital's phonetic similarity to Pyeongchang.

Moon shook hands with both Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam at the Olympics opening ceremony on Friday and they cheered as athletes from North and South entered the arena together behind a unification flag showing an undivided Korean peninsula.

It is a rare show of warmth and diplomacy between the warring nations.

It was a raucous and historic night mixing sports and politics on an worldwide stage for a second straight night in this remote region of South Korea.

The North Korean delegates later Saturday may attend the debut of the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team at the women's ice hockey tournament in Gangneung. "An early resumption of dialogue between the USA and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", he said, according to his spokesman. They may also see a performance by a visiting North Korean art troupe in Seoul on Sunday before flying back to Pyongyang.

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