According to the Blue House, Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon “in the near future” and would like him to visit North Korea “at his earliest convenience”, his sister told Moon.
Kim Yo Jong, the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was among a high-level delegation in the stands as the joint Korean women’s ice hockey team took on Switzerland in their opening match.
The 23rd Winter Olympics in South Korea’s eastern county of Pyeongchang had generated great interest as the world awaits to see if the leaders of the two Koreas meet at the opening ceremony of the games on Friday or after. Pence and the Kims seemed to go out of their way not to acknowledge each other.
“By sending Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un may be putting the final touches on this plan”, the South’s top-selling, conservative Chosun daily said in an editorial on Thursday.
Since the Korean War ended in a truce in 1953, the two sides have grown culturally and linguistically apart, deepening the political gulf that had initially separated the poor, one-party state in the north from the rich, democratic south.
At the luncheon, Moon proposed a toast, calling for peace and “mutual prosperity” for the two Koreas.
Woo, who described himself as a conservative, said the Olympics are world festivals that North Korea can also enjoy together with other countries.
However, no member of North Korea’s ruling family has ever before visited the Blue House, which is near where North Korea founder Kim Il Sung – Kim Yo Jong’s grandfather – sent dozens of commandos to assassinate former South Korean military strongman Park Chung-hee in 1968.
“We are not giving any information on the itinerary of President Moon in advance”, a spokesman told AFP. Officials didn’t reveal what was written in it. The North Koreans, dressed in identical garb, cheered in careful coordination.
Pence’s office didn’t directly address Kim’s invitation to Moon.
“It is not an impossible dream”, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, said at the United Nations in September. Then, one by one, the players streamed past Moon and Kim Yong Nam to shake their hands.
In the meeting with North Korean officials, Moon stressed the need for the communist North to resume dialogue with the United States.
During an intermission, South Korean rappers Dynamic Duo took to a stage and worked up excited young South Koreans around them with a version of Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk”.
It was a raucous and historic night mixing sports and politics on an global stage for a second straight night in this remote region of South Korea.
The team of 12 North Koreans and 23 South Koreans was composed last month as the Koreas agreed upon a package of reconciliation steps following a year of heightened nuclear tensions that triggered fears of war on the Korean Peninsula.
Park also dryly pointed out that the last-minute participation of the North Koreans meant some South Korean athletes who had planned to play were ruled out, a fact some South Koreans continue to resent.
Washington is anxious by North Korea’s image transformation from a sabre-rattling nuclear power to a peaceful competitor in the Winter Olympics, with its young athletes dancing on ice.
Even if there are more meetings between the rivals after the Games, accomplishing something is another matter.
A North-South Olympics detente has raised concerns in Washington and Tokyo that Seoul may ease up on the “maximum pressure” campaign by the United States and its allies to rein in North Korea.
Gangneung: North and South Korea competed together for the first time at an Olympics on Saturday as the first of 102 gold medals were decided against a fast-moving backdrop of diplomatic manoeuvring.