North Korea heads for diplomacy gold medal at Olympics

Kim Yo Jong sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited the South Korean President to the North in person

Kim Yo Jong sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited the South Korean President to the North in person

Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong were the first individuals mentioned in its report on the opening ceremony, saying that they took their places on the platform at the event.

Crucially, they left South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a diplomatic conundrum that could be a defining moment for his leadership - whether to accept an invitation to Pyongyang for talks with his North Korean counterpart, who presides over a nation where opposition is brutally suppressed, senior officers face execution if they stand in his way, and even his own family members are eliminated if they are perceived to pose a threat to his power.

The letter delivered by "Special envoy Kim Yo-jong" stated her brother's "wish to improve inter-Korean relations", Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

That is the assessment of a former South Korean government minister and political experts who say the North has used the Games to drive a wedge between South Korea and its USA ally and to potentially ease pressure on its sanctions-crippled state.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency also referred to Moon as president.

Washington is not expected to support the initiative - recently the Trump administration has been exerting "maximum pressure" on North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme.

Kim and Guterres attended a dinner ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

"The 23rd Winter Olympics opened in Phyongchang of south Korea", KCNA wrote in English, using an alternate spelling for the Olympic city and, notably, the lower-case "south" — a style it uses to show it does not endorse the names "South Korea" and "North Korea".

Adam Rippon doesn't want his monthlong dispute with Mike Pence over the US vice president's record on gay rights to overshadow his long-awaited Olympic performance.

Pence was seated between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

They do so with as much focus on the North, which has zero real medal contenders, as the South, which in the three decades since its last Olympics has built a solid winter program as it went from economic backwater and military dictatorship to Asia's fourth-biggest economy and a bulwark of liberal democracy.

North Korea is under a heavy United Nations sanctions regime which was originally targeted at stopping the proliferation of arms and nuclear and missile technologies, but has become more all-encompassing after its accelerated missile testing.

It would be the first summit in more than 10 years between the Korean leaders.

In Pyeongchang, though, the two Koreas avoided talk of sanctions and basked instead in Olympic goodwill, which was nowhere more evident than on Saturday night when a joint Korean women's ice hockey team took to the ice.

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