North Korea invites South Korean president to visit

The 19 other North Korean athletes participating in the games are three cross-country skiers; two short-track speed skaters; a pair of figure skaters; and 12 female hockey players who helped form the Koreas' first-ever joint Olympic team with South Korean players. He remained seated when the joint Korean team entered the stadium, in contrast to Moon who stood along with Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to applaud. She is one of the reclusive leader's closest advisers and met with Moon at the presidential Blue House in the capital, Seoul, on Saturday in the highest-level contact between the two Koreas in years.

The spokesman said Moon also called for a quick resumption of dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults and threats of nuclear war as tensions rose, with Trump repeatedly dismissing the prospect or value of talks with North Korea.

Abe discussed North Korea's nuclear and missile programs and brought up the issue of Japanese nationals who were abducted by the North decades ago when he shook hands and briefly spoke with Kim Yong Nam during the dinner hosted by Moon in Pyeongchang, Kyodo News quoted the Japanese government as saying. "The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the developments.

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.

After months of silence on whether it would even take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, which had their opening ceremony Friday, the Games have driven a rapprochement on the peninsula, while the North's athletes, performers, and delegates have dominated the headlines.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power previous year on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programme.

It "has had way worse ups-and-downs than the "lipstick diplomacy" of the "propaganda Olympics", he wrote, and Moon was unlikely to be "seriously bowled over by some united squad medals and a trip to Pyongyang".

Russian plane with 71 on board crashes off Moscow
The plane was heading from Moscow to Orsk city, carrying 65 passengers and seven crew members, according to Interfax news agency. The transport ministry said several causes for the crash are being considered, including weather conditions and human error.

Hundreds of Twitter users in recent days have referred to "Pyongyang2018", and while some were making a dig at the presence of North Korea at the Games, in many cases it appears to have been a simple mix-up. North Korea has said its nuclear weapons are not for bargaining away. Moon had said "let's create conditions to make it happen", the official said, an indication that Moon was likely to accept the invitation.

For now, America seems unlikely to come to the negotiating table with North Korea at the Olympics. The delegation is expected to head back to the North later Sunday.

Pence said Friday the USA would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program.

Pence said he and Moon spoke as "friends" and are completely aligned on the need to increase diplomatic and economic pressure on North Korea.

"What can not be overlooked is that Moon did not directly demand North Korea to abandon its nuclear development".

That stance, though, could complicate South Korea's relations with the United States.

Kim Yo Jong, 30, is the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Pence carried a similar message.

Latest News