North and South Korea celebrate peace through taekwondo show

North and South Korea celebrate peace through taekwondo show

North and South Korea celebrate peace through taekwondo show

That's what people are saying in South Korea, as they consider the unprecedented visit by Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has raised her profile dramatically at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Pence left South Korea Saturday night, flying out of Pyeongchang after attending a short-track speedskating event with Moon - who then went to watch ice hockey along with Kim and the North Korean delegation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in had a luncheon earlier Saturday with the North Koreans, while Pence declined opportunities for contact with South Korea's neighbor to the north.

Pence did say, however, that Moon shared with him details of his meeting with North Korean leaders, without elaborating.

US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults as tensions rose, with Trump repeatedly dismissing the prospect or value of talks with North Korea.

Kim Yo Jong said she hopes to see Moon in Pyongyang soon so that he and her brother could "exchange views over many issues", which she said would make "North-South relations develop like yesterday was a long time ago".

The North Korean taekwondo athletes arrived South this week and performed at the Pyeongchang Olympic Games opening ceremony on Friday as part of four performances during their nine-day trip.

Not everybody was so taken by the show of Korean unity, with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence remaining seated as the North and South Koreans entered the stadium.

One key question of her visit was what message she would convey from her brother over inter-Korean ties amid a reconciliatory mood between the two Koreas surrounding the North's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Games.

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"Honestly, I didn't know I would come here so suddenly".

A White House official said although Moon did not discuss the invitation with Pence, the South Korean president made it very clear that only when North Korea actually starts to take steps to denuclearize would anyone even consider beginning to take the pressure off. Kim Jong-nam, the leader's half brother, was killed in Malaysia past year, apparently on the orders of the Pyongyang regime. The North Korean orchestra will return home on Monday after their second and last performance on Sunday.

The South Korean leader said in response "let's create the environment for that to be able to happen", Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told a news briefing.

The unscheduled meeting, the sources said, underscored the need for the two sides "to work closely to continue to remind South Korea that it should not move any closer towards North Korea".

Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state who was also at Saturday's meeting, said "even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations".

The prospect of two-way talks between the Koreas, however, may not be welcomed by the United States.

Japanese editorials sounded a similar warning, saying dialogue would be meaningless unless it led to denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"Kim's proposal for a summit with Moon is based on the premise that the North will stick to its nuclear weapons while seeking rapprochement with the South", he told AFP.

Pence is playing "right into North Korea's hands by making it look like the U.S. is straying from its ally and actively undermining efforts for inter-Korean relations", said Mintaro Oba, a former diplomat at the State Department specialising in the Koreas, who now works as a speechwriter in Washington.

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