Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Korea's first Olympic competitor flops

North Korea's first Olympic competitor flops

So he made a decision to treat the Winter Olympics as an opportunity not only to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula, but also to spur momentum for dialogue on denuclearisation.

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.

She later gave that folder to Moon, and Moon's office it was her brother's personal letter to Moon; officials didn't reveal what was written in it. Moon's office said Kim Jong Un's invitation to visit was delivered verbally by her sister.

Earlier on Saturday, Kim invited Moon for talks in Pyongyang, setting the stage for the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

Pence is leading the USA delegation to the opening ceremonies, where he has worked to pour cold water on warming ties between the two Koreas.

He criticized the Trump administration for straining too hard to signal disgust of Kim Jong Un's government.

But the North Korean cheerleading squad there to support the team?

Hyon Song-wol, leader of North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra, performs during a concert by the North Korean art troupe, at the National Theater of Korea in Seoul, on February 11, 2018.

Providing fuel to the ferry would have been a hard decision for Seoul because of concerns that North Korea is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in worldwide sanctions against the country over its nuclear and missile programs. South Korea wants a northern neighbor without nukes; North Korea vows to keep its weapons until the United States discards its "hostile" policies against the country.

And so, with a little help from a liberal South Korean president eager to engage Pyongyang, the 2018 Pyeongchang Games open.

At a Friday VIP reception for delegation leaders, Pence arrived late and stayed for just five minutes - and did not interact with the delegation from the North.

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Pence shook hands with other leaders, including close ally Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but not Kim Yong Nam, according to a Blue House pool report.

North Korea's Jong had one of the team's eight shots on the night.

But Pence said that Moon shared "a bit" about his meeting with the North Koreans, and that he "appreciated him sharing his perspective on that".

Moon is eager to use Kim's presence at the games to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into nuclear talks.

Even on a brutally cold February evening, there were moments aplenty to warm the heart during a Winter Olympics opening ceremony which had peace as its central theme.

Moon said improved relations between the Koreas may be a step toward resolving the nuclear standoff.

The earlier performance was the first by North Koreans in the South since August 2002.

The Opening Ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games was a spectacle to behold, but two notable individuals did not get to witness the pageantry.

But Ms. Kim-the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953-wasn't there just to shake hands and smile for the camera.

"North Korean and Iranian athletes will be excluded because of existing United Nations sanctions" against the two countries, a Pyeongchang organising committee spokeswoman told AFP. Since his inauguration last May, President Moon Jae-in has known that he needed to find a way to mitigate the existential threat of nuclear war.

South Korea's coach - who happens to be Canadian - then informed reporters that for some reason the North Korean athletes would not be allowed to live alongside the South Korean hockey players.

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