It is extremely rare for a Japanese prime minister to communicate with a high-ranking official from North Korea's ruling party.
Kim Yo Jong serves as a sort of "chief-of-staff figure" for Kim Jong-un and protects his image, according to experts. "We are here together and that alone will be a precious starting point for a step forward toward world peace".
Now the North is subject to multiple rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, while the democratic South has risen to become the world's 11th-largest economy.
On Thursday, 140 rowdy protesters set off fireworks as they gathered in Gangneung, a sub-host city of the Winter Olympic Games, to protest a North Korean orchestra that performing at a local arts centre as part of the Pyeongchang Olympics.
It was a picture of South Korean President Moon Jae-in reaching up to shake the hand of Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean dictator and nuclear war sabre-rattler Kim Jong Un.
Another teenage breakout star could be Chloe Kim, 17, the American whose parents are Korean and who is tipped for gold in snowboard as well as adulation by the host nation.
Kim Yo Jong has been rapidly rising within the North's power structure and is believed to be in charge of shaping her brother's public persona.
Leader Kim and US President Donald Trump exchanged threats of war and personal insults, sparking global alarm and fears of a new conflict on the peninsula.
NBCUniversal will present more than 2,400 hours of coverage of the PyeongChang Games - the most ever for a Winter Olympics. His single-minded pursuit of a nuclear arsenal to counter what he sees as the threat of invasion by the United States has ratcheted up tensions not only with his rivals but also with primary trading partner China and with Russian Federation, once a key benefactor.
The cracks in the trilateral alliance between the United States, Japan, and South Korea - allies who've shown a united front in hopes of denuclearizing North Korea - are starting to show.
Several days of violent demonstrations were held outside Seoul's Yonsei University in opposition to the South Korean government. This was Abe's first contact with a senior official representing the current North Korean regime, led by Kim Jong Un. USA and Japanese press initially photographed the two without Moon. "There's a lot of speculation as to what the North Korean strategy is right now".
A spokesperson for the vice president said that Pence did not come across the North Korean delegation during the reception.
Analysts say the North's decision to send her to the Olympics shows an ambition to break out from diplomatic isolation and pressure by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.
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