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At Olympic Games, Kim Jong Un's sister takes VIP seat

10 February 2018

Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister and close adviser, just sat down for a historic meeting with the president of South Korea in the latest surprising development to come out of the North's decision to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

President Trump's right-hand man was at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Saturday night to watch the opening session of short-track speedskating and, for the second evening in succession, he was unable to avoid a connection to North Korea.

After meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence said there should be no consideration of using the Games as an opening for substantive talks with the North until its nuclear program is up for negotiations.

Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon "at an early date", a spokesman for the Blue House said.

Pence, who led the U.S. delegation, was seated between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's 90-year-old nominal head of state, seated a row behind.

The North Korean delegation is set to return home Sunday. He also said the ceremonies were not the appropriate venue for serious talks.

Taekwondo athletes from North and South Korea produced a stunning demonstration in Gangwon as sporting diplomacy took centre stage alongside kicking, screaming and flying planks of wood on Saturday.

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

Earlier Friday, the North's high-level delegation, which includes Kim Yong Nam and Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, arrived in South Korea.

Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test a year ago and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States. The U.S. and the North should quickly resume dialogue, he said.

Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

"I am very confident, as President Trump is, that President Moon will continue to stand strongly with us in our extreme-pressure campaign", Pence told NBC in an interview on Friday, maintaining all options were open to deal with the crisis. "But today we thought it was important to make sure the truth is told", he said.

The two Koreas have a rocky and sometimes violent history at the Blue House.

Yo-jong's South Korea trip was especially surprising, as she is the only member of the communist state's ruling family to have visited the South, at least since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The nuclear-armed North's delegation is the diplomatic highlight of an Olympics-driven rapprochement on the divided peninsula.

At Olympic Games, Kim Jong Un's sister takes VIP seat