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Kim Jong Un invites S Korean president for summit

12 February 2018

The 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang kicked off on Friday with the two Koreans marching under a unified flag in an opening ceremony themed around peace and future.

The personal invitation from Kim was delivered verbally by his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, during talks and a lunch Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

Throughout the ceremony there were constant winks to peace, such as the theme "Imagine" by John Lennon, an ode to coexistence, sung by four well-known South Korean singers. A joint ice hockey team, comprising of both North and South Korean players will take part in the Winter Games.

Switzerland's Alina Muller nearly single-handedly spoiled Korea's Olympic unity moment on Saturday, scoring four goals to power the Swiss to an 8-0 win over Korea's unified women's ice hockey team.

But the United States and Japan have warned against North Korea's "smile diplomacy", through which Pyongyang is apparently trying to weaken worldwide economic sanctions against it by getting close to South Korea.

However, few officials have said this in quite the colorful language that Trump has used.

Such a summit, if it came about, would mark the first time that leaders of the two Koreas have met since 2007.

"Kim Jong Un has no intention of giving up his nuclear weapons", said Cheon Seong-whun, a former presidential secretary for security strategy and now a visiting research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

The displays of unity are largely symbolic and on political level may not ultimately lead to a diplomatic breakthrough or ensure peace on the Korean peninsula. Dozens of South Koreans at the airport tried to snap photographs of her on their mobile phones.

Kim Yo-jong and the North's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, made up the most senior delegation from Pyongyang o visit the South since the Korean War in the 1950s.

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.

The story of the Winter Olympics so far has been the united front the two Korean countries have showed.

"But there should be conditions for the summit to take place, and the results should be guaranteed to some extent", he added.

Although inter-Korean talks are occurring on the sidelines of the Olympics, Pence is confident that Seoul and Tokyo "are solidly with our alliance and the need to continue and intensify economic sanctions", the official said.

Kim Jong Un invites S Korean president for summit