Winter Olympics 2018: North Korea invites South president to Pyongyang

Mr Pence, who avoided direct contact with North Korea's ceremonial leader at a reception dinner hosted by Mr Moon last night, said the USA will continue to exert maximum pressure on Pyongyang until it returns to the negotiating table to discuss permanent and irreversible denuclearisation.

Athletes from both sides, technically still at war, marched together at the opening ceremony and have fielded a unified women's ice hockey team, the first time an inter-Korean team has competed at any Olympic Games.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in hosted two of North Korea's most senior officials at the opening ceremony, including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister.

North Korean state media on Monday said its high-level delegation's trip to South Korea was "meaningful" and it improved stalled inter-Korean relations.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for denuclearization talks during a brief conversation with North Korea's nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, UN Secretary General's Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq told reporters on Friday.

Progress in communication between North and South Korea on Saturday prompted concern in the Japanese government that Seoul may rush into dialogue with the North at the expense of the pressure campaign espoused by Japan and the United States.

South Korea's figure skating queen Yuna Kim said today that the experience of lighting the Pyeongchang Olympic cauldron was "emotional" and admitted she had been scared of dropping the torch.

The North Koreans earlier Saturday invited Moon to visit Pyongyang in what would be the Koreas' third summit talks since their 1945 division.

Moon recalled his past visit to the North's Diamond Mountain resort, where he and his mother met his North Korean aunt during a temporary reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Murray, a 29-year-old Canadian with no background in global diplomacy, must select 23 players from her roster - recently boosted to 35 to include 12 North Koreans - to suit up for the game in sweaters emblazoned with an image of a unified Korean peninsula. US Vice President Mike Pence, sitting a few seats away in the same Opening Ceremony VIP booth, looked stony-faced as the scene unfolded. Jong Su-Hyon from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and South Korean forward Han Soo-jin contributed the team's two most aggressive attempts in the whole game, however their efforts were in vain as Jong's shot was blocked by Swiss goalie Florence Schelling, while Han's hit the net roof.

Ham said in a letter to Van Oosterom that the delegation's participation "will serve as a timely opportunity to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond by promoting an environment conducive to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution concerning the situation on the peninsula".

Pence, who is leading the United States delegation to the Olympics, briefly encountered Kim Yong-nam at the Games but the two tried to avoid directly facing each other.

Still, it was widely believed to reflect USA suspicions toward the recent rapprochement between the two Koreas.

President Donald Trump has received much criticism for his tweet about having a bigger and better-functioning nuclear button than Kim Jong Un.

"We have never begged for dialogue with the USA and will be the same in the future", Cho Yong Sam, a senior official at the North's foreign ministry, was quoted as saying by the communist state's official Korean Central News Agency.

  • Rogelio Becker