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Kim's Smiling Sister Exploits Trump-Moon Divide

Kim's Smiling Sister Exploits Trump-Moon Divide”

The South Korean government said Sunday that Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon would host a high-level luncheon at a hotel in eastern Seoul for ten North Korean delegates and 12 members from the South including Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan.

Her arrival on Kim Jong Un's private jet with a coterie of 22 officials was broadcast live on South Korean television.

"Kim Jong Un is clearly serious about reviving talks with the South to improve relations", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korean expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon.

Sunday's KCNA report cited Moon as saying inter-Korean relations should be mended by the parties concerned "at any cost as indicated by Chairman Kim Jong Un in his New Year Address".

Moon met Kim Yo Jong - a close confidante of her brother and the first member of the dynasty to set foot in the South since the Korean War - and the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam at the Blue House in Seoul.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, for example, faced a barrage of criticism over the weekend for sitting stone-faced in his seat as Moon and North Korean officials stood together with much of the stadium to applaud their joint Olympic team.

The DPRK delegation also included Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un's younger sister who serves as the first vice director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

During the bilateral talks over lunch, neither side made mention of Pyongyang's nuclear issue, which is attracting worldwide attention as a major security concern and has heightened tensions, a presidential office source said.

Hours before Friday's opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, Japan's Abe warned Moon not to fall for North Korea's "smile diplomacy" during the Olympics, according to Moon's office. She sat with Kim Yong Nam, Moon and his wife, Kim Jung-sook.

On his flight to Alaska on Saturday, the vice president said he left Asia "encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea.

The North Korean delegation and Moon watched the Koreas' unified women's ice hockey team's first match against Switzerland in Gangneung late Saturday.

Meanwhile, Pence, who was sent to PyongChang for the opening of the Winter Games, preceded his arrival there with a number of public appearances in Asia during which he criticized North Korea's diplomatic attempts as a ruse to "cloud the reality" of the regime.

When a ferry carrying North Koreans to the Games docked in South Korea last week, the North asked its hosts for the fuel needed to get it home, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. Moon would irritate Trump if he accepts the invitation, while declining would make the US and South Korea appear "unreasonably bellicose", he said. The U.S. and the North should quickly resume dialogue, he said. Her visit amounted to a charm offensive created to counter the US narrative that Kim Jong Un is a madman who tortures his own people and would blow up Los Angeles or New York City if he didn't get his way.

Pence did not engage with North Koreans even though he was seated in the same box as them.

"I think, in the United States of America, just as in France - where the president was impressed on Bastille Day - we can celebrate our troops, not in any way ever be associated with the provocations of the North". Seafood, once a major North Korean export, was now more widely available at home after United Nations sanctions banned these exports in August. A big one could be a demand to cease the U.S. -South Korea alliance were evident immediately after the announcement.



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