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These displays of unity at the Olympics fill us with hope

These displays of unity at the Olympics fill us with hope

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited South Korea's president to a summit in Pyongyang at the "earliest date", officials said Saturday, a major development in the flurry of diplomacy connected to the Winter Olympics being held on the divided peninsula.

Ahead of the reception, hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, South Korean media said Pence was expected to be seated opposite Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, at the 12-seat head table.

Anti-North Korean protesters wave flags and shout slogans as a ferry carrying a North Korean art troupe for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games approaches the port of Mukho in Donghae on February 6, 2018.

Ms Kim is considered a powerful figure in North Korea as a dignitary and vice director of the Workers' Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department, according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Tensions between the two soared previous year as Pyongyang launched intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States mainland and carried out by far its most powerful nuclear test to date. They cheered together as athletes from North and South entered the arena together behind a unification flag that shows a united Korean peninsula.

But the United States and Japan have warned against North Korea's "smile diplomacy", through which Pyongyang is apparently trying to weaken worldwide economic sanctions against it by getting close to South Korea.

Other members of the North Korean delegation present at Saturday's meeting included Ri Son Gwon - who led the first sit-down talks at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) earlier this year, and Choe Hwi.




At the opening ceremonies Friday, Pence sat stone-faced in his seat as Moon and North Korean officials stood together with much of the stadium to applaud their joint team of athletes.

Washington and Tokyo are concerned that Seoul's conciliatory stance toward Pyongyang could endanger trilateral cooperation on bolstering pressure against North Korea, and could give the country more time to develop nuclear weapons.

The organizers of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics said its servers were hacked by an unidentified attacker during the opening ceremony the previous day.

That same year, Corporal Lewis Ewing was stationed at Chuncheon as a helicopter crew chief with the U.S. Army, responsible for maintaining the aircraft that sent supplies to troops on the ground and transported the wounded to hospitals.

Frank Jannuzi, president of the Mansfield Foundation, questioned the necessity of the Trump administration's counter-messaging, but said he didn't think it would cast a pall over Olympic celebrations. Olympic committee organizers said the origins of the attack remained unknown.

The parade featured intercontinental ballistic missiles, including what appeared to be the Hwasong-15 that's said to put the entire United States within range.


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