Pence sidesteps encounter with North Korean official

Kim Yo Jong top right sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sits alongside Kim Yong Nam president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament and behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as she watches the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic

Kim Yo Jong top right sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sits alongside Kim Yong Nam president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament and behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as she watches the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympic

American Vice President Mike Pence, who also visited South Korea for the Olympic Games, notably avoided any interaction with the North Korean emissary whatsoever, opting not to participate in the good-will applause and similar gestures directed toward the sister of the ruler Pence referred to as "the most tyrannical" on Earth.

A Blue House official said Moon "practically accepted" the invitation. Analysts believe the missiles, which were successfully tested previous year in three launches, could potentially reach deep into the US mainland when perfected.

"Sending his sister with an invite for Moon to Pyongyang is well played by Kim Jong Un", said James Schoff, a Korea expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. The North and the United States were also holding a series of high-level talks on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.

Pyeongchang Olympic organizers are investigating a possible attack on their internet and Wi-Fi systems that took place about 45 minutes before the opening ceremony.

"This is the first time Mike Pence has been accused of being a snob", said an aide to the vice president, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the North Korean reports.

She shook hands with Moon and smiled faintly as the South Korean leader entered a meeting room at the Blue House on Saturday.

He called for his military to maintain a high level of combat readiness against the United States and its "followers" so that "invasive forces can not infringe upon or harass the republic's sacred dignity and autonomy even by 0.001 millimeters".

Pence said Moon updated him about the meeting he had with North Korean officials and "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".

The meeting led to a series of reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, as well as the launch of a joint factory park in the North's border town of Kaesong in 2004.

"The grievances that the world has about North Korea are very legitimate".

There were South Koreans who agreed with Pence's stance.

It is rare for the North's official media to refer to the South's leader as president, usually describing them as chief executive or similar, and even more unusual for a picture of them to be shown.

Her visit makes her the first member of the dynasty to set foot in the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

"Pence must know that his frantic acts of abusing the sacred Olympics for confrontational ruckus are as foolish and stupid an act as sweeping the sea with a broom", the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary published Saturday.

But North Korea's bad record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind.

It said the two sides held "a comprehensive discussion. on the inter-Korean relations and various issues on the Korean peninsula in an amicable atmosphere", but did not say whether the North's weapons program was mentioned.

Diplomatic sources with deep knowledge of North Korea's activities told CNN that despite outwardly positive signs and indications of a "charm offensive" from Pyongyang, what's "unclear and bizarre" is there has not been any concurrent diplomatic movement from North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The senior US official said Pence was not trying to avoid the North Korean officials but rather ignore them.

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