North and South Korea celebrate peace through taekwondo show

Harvard Kennedy School Korea Working Group Director John Park discusses North and South Korea relations

Harvard Kennedy School Korea Working Group Director John Park discusses North and South Korea relations

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's influential sister attended today's opening ceremony and shook hands with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in; the pair are scheduled to have lunch together.

It was the USA that appeared to be the one left in the cold, especially after the sister of the North Korean dictator extended an invitation from her brother for Moon to visit the North.

An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South's Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang. The White House official said the invitation didn't undermine or detract from Pence's trip.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from USA aggression.

Vice-President Mike Pence's efforts to keep North Korea from stealing the show at the Winter Olympics proved short-lived, drowned out by images of the two Koreas marching and competing as one.

President Donald Trump and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in shake hands during a meeting at South Korea's presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, November 7, 2017.

Moon is desperate to use the games as an opportunity to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into talks over resolving the worldwide standoff over its nuclear program.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programs a year ago and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon "at an early date" and Moon had said "let's create conditions to make it happen", Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a news briefing.

There is speculation Pyongyang could invite Moon to visit later this year.

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

The nuclear-armed North's delegation is the diplomatic highlight of an Olympics-driven rapprochement on the divided peninsula.

They expressed scepticism on the prospects for a summit, with professor Koh Yu-hwan of Dongguk University not expecting one "in the foreseeable future".

"If the North was genuinely interested in improving relations with the South, it would.(have) refrained from conducting a military parade on the eve of the Olympics which is contrary to the Olympic spirit", Stangarone added.

"Although it's my first time here, it doesn't feel odd".

The North Korean delegation arrived in the South on Kim's private plane on Friday via Incheon global airport to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyongchang Winter Olympics where Seoul and Pyongyang are represented by joint teams. They were seated beside the Moons and next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife.

In a tweet Saturday, Pence said, "The U.S will not allow the propaganda charade by the North Korean regime to go unchallenged on the world stage".

Latest News