South Korean protesters burn flags and photos of Kim Jong

Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics

Kim Yo-jong meets South Korean president in Seoul as thaw continues

Pence and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in agreed on a post-Olympics strategy during conversations at the Winter Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang that Pence dubbed "maximum pressure and engagement at the same time". They were a huge hit.

They were at speedskating, too.

They shared the VIP box with world leaders at the opening ceremony and joined Moon in cheering for the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team as it debuted in the women's ice hockey tournament. The University of Kentucky cheer squad will represent the United States in Pyeongchang, performing at the closing ceremony and in a competition with other countries.

One telling incident came early.

Moon was quoted by the news agency as saying, "The current visit of the delegation of the north side created a spark of improving the inter-Korean relations and ensuring peace on the Korean peninsula".

In December, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered to start talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, but the State Department later said there would first have to be a "period of calm" in which Pyongyang suspends testing before any negotiations could begin.

Camera flashes; mobs of reporters: Through it all, Kim has maintained a placid smile - and despite Pence's stated intention to reinforce North Korea's isolation during his Olympic visit, the sister of the repressive regime's leader seems to have spent at least as much time with Moon as Pence did. He also called for the need of a quick resumption of dialogue between North Korea and the United States.

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The South's Unification Ministry said steps to improve ties would be led by the two Koreas, but with the support of the worldwide community. Her visit comes one year after the U.S. Treasury Department placed sanctions on Kim for her role in propaganda and "agitation" as part of her family's harsh rule over North Korea, and her government's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Experts say that it is critical for South Korea to get the US and other partners on board in its efforts to turn the current peace mood being created by the Olympics - and the North's participation therein - into meaningful steps to denuclearize the North, a task the foreign ministry is supposed to spearhead going forward.

The Koreas previously held summits in 2000 and 2007, both hosted in Pyongyang by Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un's late father.

Moon has always expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea.

"The fate of our nation must be determined by our own selves - we must not allow the repeat of unfortunate past history where our fate was determined with no regard to our opinions", Moon said in a speech to South Korean lawmakers in November.

Tensions on the Korean border have escalated over the past year as the North pursues its ambition of becoming a fully-fledged nuclear power.

According to the Blue House, Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon "in the near future" and would like him to visit North Korea "at his earliest convenience", his sister told Moon.

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