South Korea's Moon may be on brink of legacy-defining moment

South Korean hockey coach Jim Paek and his family

South Korean hockey coach Jim Paek and his family

"We have to convince the USA, which sees North Korea's recent moves as propaganda, of the need for talking with North Korea".

That is the assessment of a former South Korean government minister and political experts who say the North has used the Games to drive a wedge between South Korea and its USA ally and to potentially ease pressure on its sanctions-crippled state.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks in Pyongyang, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

At the same moment, South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands with Kim Yo Jong, creating a historic moment and a photograph that gave hopes to many for peace between North and South Korea and movement toward unification and an end of hostilities.

After decades of bloodshed and strife, including a runup to the Olympic Games that saw the rival Koreas lurching toward war amid a near-constant barrage of North Korean missile and nuke tests, it's such a ludicrous concept at first glance that many refuse to even consider it.

While Moon has pledged to support the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign of sanctions and isolation, he might not be as enthusiastic if the United States ratchets up pressure and threatens North Korea with a military strike.

According to Reuters, when Pence arrived late to the reception he told Moon he planned to leave directly after a photo session but Moon asked him to "come and say hello to friends".

On page two it printed seven more of the opening ceremony and its representatives' meetings and handshakes with Moon, whom it described as president. This window of opportunity was born out of a new understanding reached between the White House and the president of South Korea.

Rather than aid the administration in reminding the world that North Korea is a violent and repressive country, the media unnecessarily bolstered the message of a regime that has been threatening to destroy the USA for decades.

Tensions soared past year as the North made rapid progress on its banned nuclear weapons programs, while U.S. President Donald Trump engaged in an increasingly bellicose verbal scrap with Pyongyang's leader.

Pence's press secretary had also jabbed at Kim Yo Jong this week after images of the North Korean figure standing near Pence for the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, drew attention online.

"I think it is different from the last 20years", Pence said.

CNN claimed that Kim Yo Jong, who is said to work in government propaganda, was "stealing the show", and The Washington Post compared her to President Donald Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump. In Tokyo, Pence announced new sanctions on North Korea that he promised would be the toughest ever, due to be unveiled soon.

The prospect of two-way talks between the Koreas, however, may not be welcomed by the United States. Analysts believe its diplomacy is seeking to weaken the measures against it, and could be trying to loosen the alliance between Seoul and Washington.

Human Rights Watch notes that North Korea is responsible for a multitude of human rights abuses, including "murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortion, and other sexual violence", as well as suppressing freedom of expression and access to information.

Moon was raised in poverty in Busan by North Korean parents who'd fled during the war. Only then can inter-Korean dialogue and denuclearization progress in tandem. The invitation doesn't undermine Pence's message or objective of his trip to the Olympics in any way, the official said.

"It's not a complete disaster", said James Schoff, former senior Pentagon adviser for East Asia policy.

North and South Korea competed together for the first time at an Olympics on Saturday as the first of 102 gold medals were decided against a fast-moving backdrop of diplomatic manoeuvring.

"We should firmly keep in mind any talks where denuclearisation is not a precondition only buy North Korea more time to complete its nuclear capabilities while they fool us with their peace offensive facade", said Chang Je-won, spokesman for the Liberty Korea Party.

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