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North Korean leader's sister delivers summit invitation to South Korean president

12 February 2018

The Winter Olympics' opening ceremony was all about unity: North and South Korea marched under one flag, the South's president shook hands with the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and even U.S. Vice President Mike Pence sat mere feet from the North's delegation.

Moon had said "let's create conditions to make it happen", the official said, an indication that he was likely to accept the invitation.

The invitation was extended by Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong during a lunch meeting with Moon at Blue House, the presidential palace in Seoul.

Mr. Moon has said he was willing to meet Kim Jong-un if he was reasonably sure that a summit meeting would help resolve the crisis over the North's nuclear weapons program.

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.

He didn't say what those conditions were, but he urged North Korea to open a dialogue with the United States, suggesting no diplomatic progress could be made without USA participation. In January 1968, Kim Yo Jong's grandfather, founding North Korean president Kim Il Sung, sent a squad of North Korean commandos to Seoul who tried unsuccessfully to kill then-president Park Chung-hee. Pence made it clear that the US continues its efforts to increase pressure on North Korea with economic sanctions, while Moon expressed the hope that the Winter Olympics might be "a venue that leads to dialogue" about denuclearization and peace on the Korean peninsula.

In the days leading up to the Olympics, Pence warned that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery" of the event with a propaganda campaign, according to Reuters.

There had been much made of the fact that athletes from South Korea and North Korea, long enemies in a cold (and sometimes hot) war, entered the arena together to signify in the importance of setting aside political issues in order to highlight the athletic and competitive integrity of the Olympics.

"As President Trump has said, the cruel dictatorship of North Korea is little more than a prison state", Pence said.

At the bilateral summit, Abe is believed to have told Moon that Japan can not accept the South Korean side's demand for follow-up measures regarding the comfort women issue.

North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from United States aggression. "An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", he said, according to his spokesman.

At a reception Friday, Moon pointed to the joint Korean women's ice hockey team - an Olympic first - as a starting point.

North Korean leader's sister delivers summit invitation to South Korean president