A senior United States administration official told reporters that Pence did not discuss North Korea’s invitation to Moon when the two leaders watched short track speed skating together.
It was handed to South Korea’s president by Kim’s sister, acting as an envoy. Later, he skipped a formal dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam. After a photo together, each of the Koreans shook hands with the three men while Kim Jong Un’s sister watched.
Kim’s proposal for a summit was “a brilliant diplomatic maneuver”, said Andrei Lankov, a historian at Kookmin University in Seoul who once studied in Pyongyang.
The invitation puts Mr Moon in a hard position as he had promised to engage with the North, but his United States ally is cautious of Seoul falling for North Korea’s charm offensive.
The Olympic coverage has truly been a shameful display and the gold medal for worst news stories goes to CNN. Now, Kim, 34, has switched tactics to a charm offensive aimed at persuading South Korea to break ranks with Washington, analysts said. “The Unification Ministry has directly made an inquiry to the North Korean cheering squad and confirmed that it was not a Kim Il-sung mask”.
The baggage of past hostility between the North and South is also acting against detente.
They were joined by hundreds of North Korean cheerleaders, but they did little to help the players against the Swiss onslaught.
“The South and North shared an understanding that they should continue the positive mood for peace and reconciliation created by the Pyeongchang Olympics and should promote inter-Korean dialogue, exchanges and cooperation”, Moon’s office said in a statement. The shots were 52-8 in favor of Switzerland.
The most important part of the visit, however, came during one of the quieter moments.
Kim Yo Jong made the comments on Saturday during a luncheon hosted by Moon at Seoul’s presidential palace where she delivered her brother’s invitation for a summit meeting in Pyongyang.
It’s by far the most sustained public presence for Kim, who had been something of a mystery to many South Koreans, despite her known role in North Korea’s politburo. Such a meeting, if it came about, would mark the first inter-Korea summit since 2007.
On Wednesday, Pence announced the “toughest” round of sanctions yet targeting North Korea at a news conference alongside Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s gambit to use the Olympics as a form of diplomacy has produced a dramatic gesture – an invitation from Kim Jong Un to hold talks between the two leaders in North Korea – but it is a long way from a major breakthrough. Its negotiators protested last month when South Koreans raised the issue during talks over the Olympics, a line North Korea’s state-run media has reiterated.
U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults and threats of nuclear war as tensions rose, with Trump repeatedly dismissing the prospect or value of talks with North Korea.
Who is Kim Yo Jong?
“Kim Yo-jong’s power exists because of proximity to the leader himself”. If North Korea won’t show real flexibility, the Trump administration will be off the hook and Moon’s diplomatic gambit will have failed.
The son of North Korean refugees and a leading advocate of a previous liberal government’s “Sunshine Policy” of engagement with the North, Moon has spent his career a lifetime, really waiting for this chance. “But we didn’t want to lose mentally”.