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North Korea: Cracks in US-Japan-South Korea alliance start to show

10 February 2018

The Saturday issue of Rodong Sinmun features photos of Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, and Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of leader Kim Jong Un, on their high-profile visit.

Reviving inter-Korean talks is key to the polices of Moon, who says South Korea should be in the driver's seat in global efforts to deal with the North's nuclear threat.

That said, these officials said that if the North Koreans had approached Pence with pleasantries, he would have responded in kind.

Critics say it's unclear whether revived dialogue between the Koreas could lead to immediate breakthrough on the nuclear stalemate when it seems unlikely that the North would be willing to give up its nukes under any deal.

Both of the high-ranking North Korean officials met and shook hands with South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who was seated directly in front of the North's delegation.

Kim Yong Nam on Friday took a picture with Moon and his wife Kim Jung-sook before entering the reception room.

Moon responded to the invitation by suggesting the two countries "should accomplish this by creating the right conditions", adding that talks between North Korea and the United States were also needed, and requested that North Korea be more active in talking with the U.S., according to Kim Eui-kyeom.

Both Pence and the North Korean officials also attended a diplomatic reception ahead of the opening ceremony earlier in the day, the publication reported.

After touring the grounds of the Cheonan Memorial with North Korean defectors and Fred Warmbier, Pence told reporters that Moon not only supports the latest round of sanctions against North Korea - part of the U.S.'s "extreme pressure campaign", but credits the sanctions with forcing the imminent inter-Korean dialogue during the Olympics.

The North Korean delegation is set to return home Sunday.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has invited Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam to a luncheon at Seoul's presidential palace on Saturday in what would be the most significant diplomatic event between the rivals in years.

The North Korean leader's sister's trip was particularly surprising, as she became the only member of the ruling family to have visited the South, since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Jo Yong Sam, department director general of North Korea's foreign ministry, said Thursday the country had never "begged the U.S. for dialogue" and wasn't about to start now.

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

"At any moment, he could have gotten up and left and sat somewhere else, and then you would have had the image of North sitting in the box with South Korea and Japan", the official added.

Moon was joined by his national security director Chung Eui-yong, chief of staff Im Jong-seok, National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon and Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

North Korea: Cracks in US-Japan-South Korea alliance start to show