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Abe meets Moon in S.Korea

10 February 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited the South's President Moon Jae-in for a summit in Pyongyang, Seoul said on Saturday.

Still, it was widely believed to reflect USA suspicions toward the recent rapprochement between the two Koreas.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

Seoul had banned all North Korean ships entering its ports after the North Korean torpedo attack in 2010 - the event that Pence will commemorate during his visit.

The North Korean artists performed Thursday in Gangneung, a coastal city that will host the skating, hockey and curling events during the games, and are to perform again in Seoul. "Additionally, this new missile does appear to be slightly larger than North Korea's existing solid-fuel, short-range missile system-the Toksa (SS-21)-so would presumably have a longer range, making it roughly equivalent to the Iskander or Hyunmoo-2 systems".

A renewed feud over the issue has frayed ties even as America's two key Asian allies confront the challenge of North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes. Ahead of the Olympics, there was much speculation about whether Pence would meet with members of the North Korean delegation, potentially signaling a willingness to support a broader U.S.

Pence did not shake hands with Kim, he added, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did, exchanging a few words with him.

Seating plans shown on television had Pence seated directly opposite the North's Kim Yong Nam at the reception in Pyeongchang. The North Koreans were in the room at the same time as Pence, an official said.

Seoul's presidential office says Moon during the luncheon proposed a toast calling for peace and "mutual prosperity" for the two Koreas.

Moon has expressed his intention to use the Winter Olympics as a chance to make diplomatic inroads with the North and restore normalized communications, following months of high tensions on the Peninsula. Reviving inter-Korean talks is key to the polices of Moon, who says South Korea should be in the driver's seat in worldwide efforts to deal with the North's nuclear threat.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programmes previous year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

And before all of that, Kim and President Donald Trump were hanging out with each other.

Kim and the North Korean leader's sister are scheduled to hold a meeting with Moon on Saturday.

Pence's tweeted day-after position: "The U.S. will not allow the propaganda charade by the North Korean regime to go unchallenged on the world stage".

The meeting was the most significant diplomatic encounter between the two sides in more than a generation.

The sister of the North Korean leader has arrived in South Korea, dressed in a black coat and absorbing a barrage of camera flashes.

Ms Kim, seated a row behind them, brought a message of unity from her brother Kim Jong-un, becoming the first member of the Kim dynasty to visit the South since the Korean War.

She smiled brightly as she was greeted by South Korean officials led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon at a meeting room at Incheon International Airport.

Saturday's meeting also involved two other high-level delegates - Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

Abe meets Moon in S.Korea