Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

International Olympic Committee hails two Koreas' handshakes at opening ceremony as 'historic moment'

International Olympic Committee hails two Koreas' handshakes at opening ceremony as 'historic moment'

Late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun met in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Il in October 2007, the second summit between the two Koreas, but there has been no such summit for the past 10 years under conservative governments of South Korea. Pence and his wife, seated next to Moon and just a row ahead of Kim and the North's 90-year-old nominal head of state, remained in his seat, umsmiling.

Kim Yo Jong, 28, is the first member of the ruling Kim family bearing the bloodline of the sacred Mount Paektu, a centerpiece of the North's idolization and propaganda campaign, to cross the border into the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.

You can see some images of Kim at the meeting with Moon below. They shared the VIP box with world leaders at the opening ceremony and joined Moon in cheering for the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team as it debuted in the women's ice hockey tournament.

Other members of the North Korean delegation present at Saturday's meeting included Ri Son Gwon, who led the first sit-down talks at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) earlier this year, and Choe Hwi.

Although some White House aides were leery that the arrangement could produce less-than-ideal optics for Pence, there was no concerted effort to lobby their Korean counterparts for a change, in part out of fear of upsetting the Olympic hosts, said one administration official. The team plays Switzerland on Saturday.

The Winter Olympics are now officially underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea, after an opening ceremony marked by extreme chilliness-actual and metaphorical.

The apparent thaw has not been reflected in Washington, however.

Sitting on the right was U.S. Vice President Mike Pence who kept his eyes on the ceremony. Pence, who led the U.S. delegation to the Olympics, has accused Pyongyang of using the event for its own ends.

The vice president and North Koreans are not expected to interact Saturday during events in Pyeongchang, according to a second USA official.

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Nunes has said that the committee's Republicans are still investigating and plan to put together more memos. Including "the woman up front that answers the phone" over alleged leaks, Rooney told CBS.

"What we'd like to achieve by coming to South Korea at the Winter Olympics", Howard told the newspaper, "is that to show the world this is what peace could look like when two leaders get along".

According to a tweet by the Washington Post's Tokyo bureau chief, Ms Kim left a note at the palace expressing hope that "Pyongyang and Seoul will become closer in the heart of Koreans" and for "unification and prosperity in the near future".

Pyongyang has ruled out a meeting with the USA delegation during the Winter Games.

Trump has at times questioned the objective of further talks with the North after years of negotiations by previous US administrations failed to halt the North's weapons programmes.

Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from the South Korean city of Gangneung, said the meeting would be famous in history.

The US has given mixed signals about its willingness to talk.

Mr Pence has repeatedly left open the possibility of an encounter at the Games, but said the United States had not requested a meeting.

North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam is a career diplomat whose unquestioning loyalty has ensured his survival for decades in the regime's top ranks. The nuclear-armed North's delegation is the diplomatic highlight of an Olympics-driven rapprochement on the divided peninsula.

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