If taken up it would be the first time in a decade that the leaders of both countries have met for a summit.
Moon did not immediately accept the invitation. “We’ve heard it before from the media, ‘Donald Trump is like a dictator.’ It’s the most insane analogy because, if anything, this is a president who’s been trying to take power away from centralized government and give it back to the people”. The next step is to go beyond symbolism and head to the negotiating table.
“What we’d like to achieve by coming to South Korea at the Winter Olympics”, Howard told the newspaper, “is that to show the world this is what peace could look like when two leaders get along”.
On Sunday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in sat next to Kim’s powerful sister at a concert in Seoul by musicians from Pyongyang.
The formal meeting between Moon and the delegation was held the day after the two nations’ athletes marched under a unified flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday.
Moon later officially declared the Olympics open, followed by a burst of fireworks. “This will contribute to inter-Korean peace”, said Jang Sung-ho, who came to watch the games with his seven other family members. There is a place and time for such a thing but one can not but wonder if this was the occasion given what the North and South Koreans are trying to achieve after year of tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear programmes. The two Koreas have also learned to use Olympic diplomacy to achieve in a small, symbolic way a much bigger goal that eludes them in the real world: a show of unity across the divided Korean 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”.
Pence did say, however, that Moon shared with him details of his meeting with North Korean leaders, without elaborating. Talks to field a joint team at the Summer Games that year in Beijing collapsed after the South rejected the North’s condition of equal numbers of athletes.
A White House official described the South Korean president as hopeful that there would be “some talks and socializing” between Pence and the North Koreans over the course of the weekend.
“Although it’s my first time here, it doesn’t feel unusual”.
“I never thought I would visit (the South) so suddenly and believed much would be unusual and different but I saw many things that were similar or the same”, said Kim Yo Jong in a toast during Sunday’s dinner, adding she hoped to meet the “friendly faces” before her later in Pyongyang.
On Thursday, North Korea said its official delegation to the PyeongChang Olympics had no intention of meetings its US counterpart. A charm offensive that they’ve have done before at the Olympics in 2000, 2004 and 2006 – which as I mentioned earlier this week – it would just be a matter of eight months after the 2006 winter Olympics that North Korea tested their first nuclear bomb. “The world cannot turn a blind eye to the oppression & threats of the Kim regime”.