Kim Jong Un's Sister Departs South Korea

15 February, 2018, 05:46 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Getty						Yuna Kim lights the Olympic cauldron at the 2018 Opening Ceremony

President Thomas Bach plans to visit North Korea after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, cementing ties with the reclusive state which used the event to restart political dialogue with South Korea.

"Let us promote mutual conciliation and harmony through the power of sport".

Nevertheless, politics have loomed large as the two Koreas field a unified team at an Olympic event for the first time.

A unified Korean women's ice hockey team, first of its kind in the Olympic history, has won the hearts of millions on Saturday night, despite a 8-0 loss to the Sochi bronze victor Switzerland in their debut at the PyeongChang Olympic Games.

Moon and Kim Yong Nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, will jointly attend the unified Korean women's ice hockey team's first match later Saturday evening.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday it will be "up to North Korea" to decide when it is ready to engage in serious and meaningful diplomatic talks with the US.

North and South Korean leaders swapped warm handshakes and smiles at Friday's opening ceremony, enabling the International Olympic Committee to present the Games as enablers of peace and take the media spotlight away from a Russian doping scandal that has plagued it for years. White House officials stressed that Pence had applauded only for the American team, but Asia experts said the vice president's refusal to stand could be seen as disrespectful to the hosts.

Pence stood to welcome the USA athletes as the Korean pop hit Gangnam Style blared around the stadium, sparking the "Horse Dance" in the crowd and among the volunteers.

After months of silence about the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics, the competition proved an opportunity for a spectacular rapprochement between the two rivals.

South Korea's then president Kim Dae-jung, who won a Nobel Peace Prize for his Sunshine policy of engagement with the North, visited Pyongyang for an unprecedented inter-Korean summit with late leader Kim Jong Il.

"The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the developments. She and Kim Yong Nam were seated behind Moon and his wife, while Pence and his wife were seated beside the Moons and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

He also spoke out against Moon's recent pro-Pyongyang gestures and the North's charm offensive. North Korea's official KCNA news agency warned on Tuesday the resumption of the drills will throw the Korean peninsula back to "the grim phase of catastrophe". A top North Korean official seemed to rule out a potential meeting with US officials in the North's state-run media on Thursday, but Pence suggested to reporters that it was still a possibility.

She arrived Friday as the first member of her family to visit South Korea since the Korean War in 1950-53.



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