World

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for summit

Kim Jong Un invites South Korean president for summit

IOC President Thomas Bach, North Korean ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attend the women's ice hockey preliminary round.

Her presence in the Olympics Stadium in Pyeongchang is the first time that a member of her family have visited South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, headed home Sunday after a whirlwind trip to the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Days later, TV news shows in South Korea are still repeatedly airing footage of Kim walking with President Moon Jae-in, often with a placid smile on her face.

This will be the largest Winter Games in history, with 2,800 athletes due to compete in a record 102 events, but even during the parade of nations it was not always about the competitors, as the focus of some spectators turned to President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un impersonators.

He also talked about visiting the North Korean border town of Kaesong, where the countries operated a joint factory park that had been a symbol of rapprochement before South Korea shut it down in 2016, after North Korea's fourth nuclear test.

The earlier performance was the first by North Koreans in the South since August 2002.

That stance, though, could complicate South Korea's relations with the United States.

"Kim Jong Un is clearly serious about reviving talks with the South to improve relations", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon.

The luncheon at the Blue House came after Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which has brought a temporary lull in tensions over the North's nuclear program.




And even after the players skated off and the crowds cleared out, the North's indefatigable cheer squad remained in the stands, bobbing their heads and serenading the stragglers in a song that wouldn't give up.

Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea. But most South Korean fans were fixated on the ice hockey, where the combined North and South women's team appeared at a packed Kwandong Hockey Centre.

Yokota is a "citadel of strength", said Pence, who toured operations centers at the base where personnel keep tabs on North Korean military moves. He had been dispatched from Washington for the Olympics in part, he said, to make sure that people didn't lose sight of how the USA government perceives the North - as a misbehaving and unsafe neighbor in the community of nations.

Moon and the two North Korean delegates cheerfully clapped and waved as the athletes from the two Koreas jointly marched during the ceremony holding a blue-and-white flag symbolizing a unified Korean Peninsula. Where Moon and Ms. Kim reportedly exchanged pleasantries about the frosty weather, Pence offered her little more than a cold shoulder while seated next to her at the Opening Ceremony.

North Korea's Jong had one of the team's eight shots on the night. It was built in the 1960s as a luxury facility for USA troops stationed in the South.

The North has sent almost 500 people to the Pyeongchang Games, including officials, athletes, artists and also a 230-member state-trained cheering group after the Koreas agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures for the games.

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

Pence spoke after paying tribute at a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed in the sinking of a warship in 2010 that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

Every where the North Koreans go, they are followed by small groups of demonstrators who represent the conflicted feelings South Koreans have toward their northern cousins.