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Could Olympic Games Bring North and South Korea Together?

12 February 2018

On the first day, the DPRK delegation attended the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics held in South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang. "He lent credibility to the narrative of a US-South Korea split and gave North Korea ammunition to blame the United States if inter-Korean engagement falls apart".

The source said the trip would be "sometime after the Olympic Games", which are due to finish on February 25, and did not comment on the agenda for the visit. "I think all of us know about this very well", said Baik Tae-hyun, spokesperson for the ministry in charge of affairs between the two countries.

"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization", Pence told The Washington Post.

According to The Telegraph, Pence assured that "both of us reiterated to each other tonight that we will continue to stand strong and work in a coordinated way to bring maximum economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea".

Since diplomatic efforts are "almost zero", sources said this may signal a "calm before the storm", with North Korea quietly preparing its next moves for after the Olympics.

Moon tried to keep both sides happy by hedging his position with this reply: "Let us create the right environment for that [the visit] to happen", said Moon.

"It's a step in the right direction", said Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. diplomat who worked on North Korea policy, but cautioned pressure would remain the focus of United States policy.

It's not the first time USA officials have expressed an interest in talking with Pyongyang.

US Vice President Mike Pence signalled a major shift in US policy on North Korea while returning home from the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, where he had an icy stand-off with Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong.

That dissonance showed just before their first meeting, when Moon said he wanted Olympic engagement to lead to real negotiations while Pence talked only about the pressure track.

North Korean athletes are making history at the Olympic games - competing under one flag with the South. But the reception served to underscore what appeared to be growing divisions between Washington and Seoul.

North Korea, which persistently seeks for the drills to be suspended, will undoubtedly put further pressure on South Korea.

Mr Pence confirmed that the US and South Korea had agreed on the terms of further diplomatic engagement with North Korea, first with Seoul before potentially leading to direct talks with Washington. Conservative groups have protested the appearance of North Korean athletes at the Games in Pyeongchang with vulgar signs. Moon initially opposed U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in South Korea, and previous year vowed to prevent war at all costs after Trump threatened "fire and fury" against North Korea.

She carried the invitation to Moon.Donald Trump and Kim have been abusing each other, but this invitation has taken the wind out of the sails of the U.S. and was reflected in the stony reaction by Vice President Pence at the Olympics.

Critics claim that by shining a positive light on Kim, who met with South Korean president on Saturday and invited him to Pyongyang, media outlets are overlooking the horrors of her family's regime.

Could Olympic Games Bring North and South Korea Together?